§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Westwood)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This Bill is the Scottish counterpart of the English Town and Country Planning Bill which is now in Committee. Its general layout and provisions are much the same as those of the English measure, but it takes full account of the different Scottish local government system and the Scottish law of land tenure. It represents a further step towards providing a proper foundation for civilised living, and is, indeed, the most important Scottish planning Measure that has ever been brought before Parliament. There is, I think, general agreement that we must have effective machinery for planning. The fact is that the present system has proved altogether inadequate. It is too narrow in its conception and it is negative in its approach. We are no longer concerned merely with problems of local development or with the prevention of bad development. The planning must be made a positive instrument for securing that all land in the country is put to the best use in the national interest as well as in the local interest. It must also aim 1714 at providing that balanced blend of town and country that is so essential to the whole economy of Scotland. A completely new planning code is therefore required, and I submit that this Bill provides such a code.
As indicated in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill, the Bill has three main objects: first, to set up a new and more effective planning system; secondly, to provide a comprehensive solution of the problem of development values and so remove one of the main obstacles to good planning; and thirdly, to enable Exchequer grants to be made towards the expenses incurred by local planning authorities in purchasing and clearing land for the execution of their plans. At present, planning schemes are not, I submit, sufficiently flexible. Once a scheme has been made it can be amended to take account of changing conditions in the local authority's area only by revoking it and by making a completely new scheme. This takes a long time and the procedure is exceedingly cumbrous. Moreover, under the present system the tendency is for each local planning authority to plan their area in isolation, with the result that schemes are governed largely by local considerations to the exclusion of many matters which affect the welfare of the country as a whole. Local planning authorities naturally want to look after the interests of their own ratepayers and to increase 1715 rateable values. The way for an authority to do this is to encourage all forms of development in their area. The more houses, factories and commercial buildings they can attract, the more their rateable value grows. And so each local authority is inclined to plan for the prosperity of their own area with little or no regard to interests outside their area. Then again, the present planning system is largely negative in its approach. It aims more at the prevention of bad development than at the encouragement of good development. This is because the local planning authorities have inadequate powers to make land available for development and to carry out development themselves.
The Bill therefore proposes a new planning system to give greater flexibility, wider powers to local planning authorities, and the necessary measure of central control to ensure that national considerations as well as purely local considerations are taken into account in the planning and carrying out of development. Each local planning authority will first of all carry out a full survey of their district. The aim of the survey will be to give them a complete background of information against which to prepare their plans. For instance, the survey will deal with such matters as the nature of the land and its resources for agriculture, afforestation or mining, requirements as to housing, industry, communications and open space, the relationship between places of work and places of residence, and, in fact, the whole community structure of the area. I regard this survey as an essential preliminary to the preparation of all plans as it will not only give complete information about existing conditions in an area but will show what is required to serve the people and their needs.
Within three years of the passing of the Bill, the local planning authority will prepare and submit to the Secretary of State for his approval a "development plan" for the whole of their district. This development plan will be prepared in broad outline in the first instance. In county areas it will show, for example, which towns and villages are suitable for expansion, the lines of main communications, and the areas to be preserved for agriculture, afforestation and so forth. In the towns and built-up areas the plan will 1716 show the land to be allocated to housing and to industry, to agriculture and allotments, and the land in and around the towns to be preserved as green belt or open space. The details of the plan will be gradually filled in over smaller areas when development is about to take place and houses, factories, schools and shops, to mention only a few items, will be planned in proper relation to each other.
The planning authorities will be required to review their development plans at five-yearly intervals, and so keep them alive and up-to-date. Moreover the local planning authorities may at any time submit to the Secretary of State proposals for the amendment of their plans or may be required by him to do so in order that the plans may not lag behind the current trends in an area. The local planning authorities will continue to be the county councils or joint county councils as in the cases of Moray and Nairn, and Perth and Kinross; the town councils of the large burghs; and the councils of the two small burghs of St. Andrews and Thurso, on whom planning powers were specially conferred by order of the Secretary of State under Section 2 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act, 1932. Although the powers of these two small (burgh councils are being preserved, there will be no further transfer of planning powers to small burghs. Here may I say that although the county councils will be the planning authorities for the areas of small burghs generally, this will not mean that the interests of these burghs will be neglected. On the contrary, the county councils will be required to consult the councils of the small burghs in their districts in the preparation of the development plans for those burghs—and, indeed, on all other aspects of planning which directly affect the burghs.
Every local planning authority will be required to appoint a planning committee to assist them in the carrying out of their functions under the Bill. Planning, I submit, is a major function of local government and it ought not, as has been the case in the past, to be entrusted to a sub-committee or a sub-sub-committee of some other committee of the local planning authority. To meet the need for carrying out planning over a wide area the Bill enables any two or more local planning authorities to combine for the purposes of any of their func- 1717 tions. And the Secretary of State, in any case in which he thinks it necessary to do so, will be able to make an order combining the districts or parts of the districts of two or more local planning authorities and to set up a joint planning committee. The Bill also enables local planning authorities or the Secretary of State to set up joint advisory committees to advise on the preparation of development plans. Persons with special knowledge and experience of particular problems may, if the local planning authorities so desire, be co-opted to these joint advisory committees, although I must say, judging at least from the experience of the past, there does not seem to be a great desire on the part of local authorities in Scotland to extend co-option as far as helping themselves with their work is concerned.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart (Fife, East)
Before the Secretary of State for Scotland leaves the question of planning, should like to ask him if it is his intention to ensure that small burghs shall be represented on, as well as consulted by, the central planning authority in any county.
§ Mr. Westwood
That, again, is a matter for the planning authority, and no one knows better than the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Stewart) that there are representatives of small burghs on county councils. If they are wise, they will see that they are given fair representation on the planning committee. If we take the instance of the county of Fife, there are three small burghs which have a fairly large representation on the county council and there is no reason why they should not, as in the case of the county of Fife, be part and parcel of the planning committee.
§ Mr. Stewart
The right hon. Gentleman has not quite answered my point. Will he himself ensure that the small burghs are represented on the planning committees?
§ Mr. Westwood
I do not want to interfere unduly, because then I should be accused of taking more and more powers as Secretary of State, for Scotland, but I have already given an indication of how I should like to see them set up their committees. As to the administration of planning control, it will operate in much the same way as it does at present during 1718 the period of preparation of schemes, with the important difference that the power to control development will continue after the development plan has been approved. To ensure that national considerations are not overlooked the Secretary of State will have power to require local planning authorities, where he thinks it necessary to do so, to refer applications to him for decision and in the case of development for which the consent of a Government Department other than the Secretary of State is required, the Bill provides that Departments may, on giving consent, direct that planning consent shall also be deemed to have been given. There will of course be the necessary consultation with the Secretary of State before any Government Department exercises this power.
To ensure that land may be made available as and when it is required for development, local planning authorities will be given powers to acquire land compulsorily for disposal to private developers. The development plan may designate land required, say, within 10 years for development by Government Department local authorities, statutory undertakers or private enterprise, and the plans will thus indicate not only the long-term proposals for the development of the area but also reasonably firm short-term programmes. The local authorities will be given much wider powers to carry out development themselves and will no longer be restricted as under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act, 1945, to the carrying out of development which private enterprise is unwilling or unable to undertake. The new planning system proposed by the Bill will also include effective powers for the control of outdoor advertisements. The four cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen already have special powers for dealing with advertisements under their own local Acts but the rest of Scotland is not so well served. The powers conferred by the Advertisements Regulation Acts are far too limited and have proved to be of very little real value. Moreover there is a serious flaw in the system of control provided for by the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act, 1932. Under that Act an advertisement may be taken down after it is up, but there are no effective powers to stop it being put up.
1719 The Bill will provide a new unified code of advertisement control applicable to the whole of Scotland. All existing public general legislation on the matter will be repealed and the Bill will enable local Acts to be repealed or modified by Order in Council. Control under the Bill will be by means of regulations which must be laid before Parliament. Different parts of the countryside will be treated according to their particular needs. For example, many parts of the countryside and beauty spots in urban areas may require special protection on amenity grounds and this may be achieved in one or other of two ways. The local planning authority may, if they wish, define areas in their development plan as areas in which there is to be special advertisement control. Alternatively, these areas may be defined by Orders made or approved by the Secretary of State. In the defined areas all but certain types of advertisements may be prohibited and all existing advertisements, other than the permitted types, may be removed. In all cases opportunity will be given to the interests concerned to submit, if they so desire, representations or objections, and these will be fully considered. In other areas advertisements will be treated broadly in the same way as other developments, that is to say the consent of the local planning authority will be required for the display of advertisements (other than those that may be exempted by regulations) and where consent is refused there will be a right of appeal either to the Secretary of State or to a special tribunal to be set up under the regulations.
Now let me turn to the second object of the Bill—the solution of the problem of development values in land. It is well known that the present planning system has been largely ineffective because of the liability of local planning authorities to pay compensation to persons who are refused permission to develop land. Even the larger and wealthier local authorities find this compensation burden quite beyond their resources. And so undesirable development has been allowed to proceed and land which should have been preserved for agriculture or as open space has been lost for all time. This natural reluctance to incur heavy liabilities for compensation payments has also prevented the replanning on the necessary scale of the obsolescent and congested 1720 areas in our towns and cities. It is true that the 1925 and 1932 Acts provided for the recovery of betterment by local planning authorities. Broadly speaking, betterment represents the increase in the value of land attributable to the provision by the community of roads, sewers, water and other essential services which make development possible. The effect of the 1932 Act is that if, as a result of the planning operations of a local authority or the execution of work by an authority under a planning scheme, any land is increased in value, the authority may recover up to 75 per cent. of that increased value. But this right of recovery is so hedged around with restrictions that in practice it has proved impossible to recover anything at all by way of betterment.
Various solutions of the problem have been put forward from time to time—notably in the Report of the Uthwatt Committee—and it is now imperative to deal with the matter once and for all, to enable planning to proceed on proper lines.
The Bill now before the House tackles the problem in the following way. It provides: first, that after the appointed day no development may take place without planning permission; secondly, that where permission is refused no compensation will be paid except in very limited circumstances; thirdly, that where development is permitted, a development charge in respect of the increase in the value of the land will be payable to the State. The effect of these provisions is, broadly speaking, that the value of all land in the country will be reduced to its value for existing use. Development values in land will be transferred to the State. In many cases, I submit, this arrangement will involve no real hardship to the owners of land. For example much of the land in country districts has no development value at all. Some owners may have acquired land without any intention of developing it. In other cases, restrictions imposed by the Bill may cause hardship, as for instance where land has development value, and that value has been paid for by the owner. The Government have decided, therefore, that a sum of £300 millions should he made available for payment to owners and others in Scotland and in England and Wales who claim that their land has been depreciated in value as a result of the provisions of the Bill.
§ Mr. Snadden (Perth and Kinross, Western)
May I ask the Secretary of State how much Scotland is to get?
§ Mr. Westwood
I cannot tell the hon. Member offhand. That is a matter to be considered by the body which is to be set up to determine exactly what Scotland's share is to be. The £300 millions will be apportioned between land in Scotland and land in England and Wales by Order made by the Treasury. Claims for payment will be submitted to a Central Land Board which will be set up for Great Britain as a whole by the Minister of Town and Country Planning and the Secretary of State for Scotland
§ Mr. Westwood
It will be no nearer the City of London than I can help, and no-one knows that better than the hon. and gallant Member. So far as this work is concerned, I shall be doing it in Scotland.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
How does the right hon. Gentleman say that the Government arrived at the figure of £300 million, in view of the fact that the earlier Committee which dealt with this matter, the Barlow Committee, recommended a sum of £400 million?
§ Mr. Westwood
If the hon. Member will wait till I have finished my speech I may be able to give some reason for that. If I do not, perhaps the Lord Advocate may pick up that point and other points, in winding up the Debate.
§ Mr. Scollan (Renfrew, Western)
Would the right hon. Gentleman explain to us the position of the landlord who applies for development and when the planning committee turns him down? How will the compensation to that landlord be arrived at?
§ Mr. Westwood
The landlord does not get any compensation as such, under the Bill He may get a payment because of any loss that he has sustained. Again, that is the type of question which can be discussed on the Committee stage of the Bill when the Bill goes to the Scottish Grand Committee.
It has been suggested that there ought to be two Boards, one for Scotland and another for England and Wales. I gave 1722 a great deal of consideration to this matter, but I came to the conclusion that the appointment of two separate Boards would be impracticable. In addition to receiving claims for payment, under Part IV of the Bill, the Board will have to assess the amount of development charges to be paid under both the English and the Scottish Bills. A body with a duty of this character must clearly be a single body [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I believe that to be the case. I am giving my reasons for it. Hon. Members can argue about it later. A body of this kind must clearly be a single body for the whole of Great Britain, in order to secure consistency throughout the country as a whole, both on policy questions and on general administration. The establishment of two separate Boards would not only be much more costly but would also lead to a great deal of overlapping and duplication of work. I appreciate, nevertheless, the need for having a body which will take full account of Scottish interests. The Bill specifically provides that the Board shall maintain an office in Scotland. This will ensure that in matters of day-to-day administration, full account is taken of Scottish conditions, including particularly all the different forms of Scottish land tenure. The Board will work under directions given to them by the Minister of Town and Country Planning and the Secretary of State for Scotland jointly. Special Scottish requirements will be covered by directions given by the Secretary of State alone. Of course, some of the members of the Board will undoubtedly be Scotsmen.—[An HON. MEMBER: "Is that a guarantee?"]—Yes, that is a guarantee.
§ Mr. Stephen (Glasgow, Camlachie)
Can the right hon. Gentleman give us any idea of what percentage of the membership of the Board will be Scotsmen?
§ Mr. Westwood
I cannot do so at this stage. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I have told hon. Members that I cannot do so. If I could have done so, I should have given the answer. Hon. Members may rest assured that I will endeavour to keep the point clearly before me, and that I will try to get the best and the maximum representation which I can get. Do not ask me exactly what there will be in the way of percentage. I will do my best, so far as Scotland is concerned.
1723 The Bill deals with the betterment side of the problem by providing for the payment to the Central Land Board of development charges in respect of all developments carried out after the appointed day. There is no statutory formula for assessing development charges, but the Board must have regard to the increase in the value of the land as a result of the permission to develop. In fixing charges, the Board will act in accordance with Regulations to be made by the Secretary of State, with the consent of the Treasury. It would not be practicable to specify in the Bill the precise amount to be charged by the Board, as it may be necessary to fix a charge having regard to the economic conditions prevailing from time to time, and to circumstances in particular areas where it is desirable to stimulate development and so relieve unemployment. Some classes of development may be exempted from development charges by Regulations made by the Secretary of State with the consent of the Treasury. The Bill itself specially exempts developments of the kind specified in the Third Schedule, such as the rebuilding, alteration or enlargement of buildings, where the cubic capacity of the building is not increased by more than 10 per cent., and the provision of certain types of buildings on land which was used for the purposes of agriculture at the appointed day.
The Bill makes special provision in regard to land which at the appointed day is held by local authorities for purposes of their statutory functions. No payments will be made out of the £300 million to which I have already referred in respect of such land. No development charge will be paid on the development of land by the local authority, or by any person to whom it is disposed of for some approved planning purpose. Similar provisions apply in relation to land held on the appointed day by statutory undertakers, development corporations under the New Towns Act, which I administer in Scotland, and ecclesiastical charitable organisations such as churches, hospitals, universities, colleges and schools. Where a local authority acquires land after the appointed day for the purposes of its development for some statutory function, the development charge will be fixed with due regard to the use to which the land is to be put.
1724 The third object of the Bill is to provide for the payment of Exchequer grants towards the expenses incurred by local planning authorities in purchasing and clearing land for the execution of their plans. In the past, planning has been seriously hampered, as I have already indicated, especially in the built-up areas, by the high cost of land. Re-development almost invariably involves a substantial thinning out of buildings, the provision of better and wider roads, and a much more generous provision of open space. The local authorities have to pay high prices for land in these areas but are unable to recoup themselves to the full extent because the redevelopment involves a less intensive use of the land and a lower financial return. The Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act, 1945, provided for Exchequer grants towards the cost of acquiring and clearing land in war damaged areas. But, as everyone knows, the main problem in Scotland is not the restoration of war damaged areas —in fact we were fairly fortunate in Scotland as compared with England in regard to the effects of heavy bombing—but the replanning and redevelopment so far as Scotland is concerned will be mainly in connection with the replanning and redevelopment of the blighted areas—areas of obsolete development or bad layout. In Scotland we have some of the worst blighted areas in Great Britain. In some cases building densities are higher than anywhere else in Great Britain and overcrowding is acute owing to the high percentage of houses with only one or two rooms. It is clear that the local planning authorities require financial assistance to enable them to cope with the redevelopment of these areas.
This Bill accordingly provides for a revised scheme of Exchequer grant which will apply with retrospective application to schemes for the redevelopment of war damaged areas commenced under the 1945 Act and also to areas of bad layout or obsolete development to be redeveloped in the future and to derelict land acquired for the purpose of bringing the land back into use. This grant will be payable towards the loan charges on the cost of acquisition and clearing such land until it is ready for redevelopment, and thereafter towards the loan charges on any loss that remains if the value of the land for its new use is less than the cost of acquisition and clearance. The scale of grants will 1725 be fixed by regulations to be made by the Secretary of State with the consent of the Treasury. Annual grants will be payable for a period not exceeding 60 years at varying rates for different parts of the grant period. For areas of obsolete development and bad layout and for derelict areas the maximum rate of grant will be 80 per cent. for an initial period to be fixed by the regulations. Thereafter grant will be payable at reduced rates for the remainder of the grant period. The application of the scale of grant to particular local planning authorities will depend upon the authority's financial strength and the rate burdens incurred by them on redevelopment. In all cases the payment of grants will be conditional on the Secretary of State's being satisfied that the redevelopment schemes are being carried out in a reasonably expeditious and efficient manner and that land is being disposed of on lines approved by him. In the case of war damaged areas the maximum grant payable will be 90 per cent. The grants will of course also extend to "overspill" areas, for instance, areas required for the relocation of population and industry.
The Bill also makes provision for the payment of Exchequer grant to local planning authorities towards the cost of compensation incurred by the authorities in exercising their planning powers under Parts II and VI of the Bill, that is, compensation in respect of the removal of non-conforming buildings, compensation in respect of tree preservation orders, etc. This grant will normally be a capital grant and the maximum rate of grant will be 60 per cent. I am at present discussing the details of these schemes of grants with the local authorities in Scotland.
There is one other point that I should like to mention. The Bill has been subjected to a good deal of criticism from certain quarters because it maintains the 1939 standard for the compulsory acquisition of land. This standard was introduced by the English Town and Country Planning Act, 1944, and the corresponding Scottish Act of 1945. Both these Measures were passed by the Coalition Government and it was then felt appropriate that for the period extending up to 17th November, 1949, compensation should be payable on the 1939 standard with the proviso that in the case of owner-occupiers the Treasury might add a variable supplement to the 1939 figure. 1726 The question of the maintenance of this 1939 standard is bound up with the provisions of the War Damage Act regulating the amount of value payments under that Act and as my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, explained during the Second Reading Debate on the English Bill, the general situation will be looked at after he has considered the question of escalating the value payments under the War Damage Act.
These then are the main provisions of the Bill to which I now ask the House to give a Second Reading. I do not claim it is a perfect Bill, and I have no doubt that many suggestions for its improvement will be made in the Scottish Grand Committee. All these suggestions will, as usual so far as I am concerned, be most carefully considered—
§ Mr. Snadden
As the right hon. Gentleman is doing with the National Health Service (Scotland) Bill.
§ Mr. Westwood
Certainly, I have made many concessions in regard to that Bill. I commend this Bill to the House as a Measure presenting a unique opportunity for solving many of Scotland's pressing problems—for redeveloping the slums and congested areas on spacious modern lines, for providing open space and recreational facilities for all who need them, for preventing further desecration of the countryside, and generally for providing all the social facilities and amenities necessary to make Scotland a healthy, well-planned, prosperous country.
§ 4.40 p.m.
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid (Glasgow, Hillhead)
I beg to move, to leave out from "That," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:whilst anxious to see an improvement in the town and country planning of Scotland, this House declines at the present critical time to give further consideration to a measure which makes impossible demands upon the resources of planning authorities in Scotland, which leaves so many essential matters for subsequent definition by statutory regulations and orders, which subjects development in Scotland to the approval of a Board sitting in London, which continues to enforce the 1939 price standard for all land and buildings acquired compulsorily, and which for these reasons will impede rather than advance the provision of housing, work and amenities for the people of Scotland.The Secretary of State for Scotland began by presenting this Bill as a great reform Measure, which would substitute 1727 positive and national planning for negative and local planning, but he never went on to tell us how that was to be done. More than nine-tenths of his speech was nothing but an uninspiring precis of the detailed administrative provisions of the Bill. I should have thought that anyone who had taken the trouble to read the White Paper would have gained little or nothing from his speech, whereas anyone who had not taken that trouble would have found his speech unintelligible.
Let me look for a moment at the claims made by the right hon. Gentleman in his opening remarks. How does this Bill substitute national for local planning? We were told by the Secretary of State a little after he had made that claim, that he regarded planning as a major function of local government. How that squares with his conception of national planning, I do not understand. The whole of the survey, the whole of the development plan, is to be carried out at the beginning, as it always has been, by the local authorities; and the only way that local planning can be turned into national planning, is if the Secretary of State himself makes wholesale alterations in these local plans when they are put up to him for his approval. Does he contemplate doing that? If he does not, the claim that this is to substitute national for local planning is just a fraud and a delusion.
I come now to the question of substituting positive for negative planning. How does the Bill do that? The only specific claim which the Secretary of State made in this regard was that, whereas under the existing town planning legislation, local authorities are only allowed to come in and build if no private person will do it, now they can come in whether any private person will do it or not; but that does not alter the planning. It does not make negative planning into positive. Under the existing law the local authority can come in if the job will not be done by any private person, and surely from the town planning angle the question is one of whether the job is to be done and not of who does it? All the Secretary of State has done is to substitute the one executive, the local authority, for the possible private enterprise which the existing law contemplates, but it does not produce one more building, it does not produce one scrap of positive planning 1728 that is not in the law at present. I did not gather from him any other specific claim to have substituted positive for negative planning except perhaps one—which we all welcome—that ultimately there will be some additional money going for the redevelopment of blight. If the right hon. Gentleman had been able to tell us that the blighted areas were likely to be developed within a measurable time, that would have been a concession of some value, but at the rate at which rehousing is going on at present, I am sure the Joint Under-Secretary of State will tell him that there is not the slightest chance of being able to take down the existing houses for a very long time to come. Therefore, that contribution, if it is a contribution to positive planning, is in the somewhat remote future.
I do not propose to follow the right hon. Gentleman in his detailed examination of each Clause of the Bill. I begin by making some more general remarks so that we may see where we stand with regard to planning generally. I agree that the present position of the law is not wholly satisfactory. I think we all want to stop bad development and, indeed, we all want, so far as possible, to encourage and certainly not to hamper good development. The trouble begins when you start inquiring what is bad and what is good development. If there were any reasonable unity of opinion about what constitutes good development, one could be easier in one's mind about the granting of these extremely wide powers; and if it were a reasonably simple matter to determine in each case, whether the development is good or bad, again one could be easier in one's mind, but what does one find? I would allude to a recent instance of controversy with regard to East Kilbride. There you have the most acute controversy between the two leading groups of Socialists in Scotland—the right hon. Gentleman and his friends in St. Andrew's House, and the majority of the Glasgow town council.
§ Mr. Scollan
I hope the right hon. and learned Gentleman is not making St. Andrew's House Socialist.
§ Mr. Reid
I will pay this compliment to St. Andrew's House, that at least they are not yet fellow travellers. Here you have an acute controversy between two lots of dyed-in-the-wool, true-blue planners about what is and what is not 1729 good planning. That does not encourage one to commit wide powers to people who do not know their own minds. Even in small things, are we safe in committing these extremely wide powers to those who have to work this machinery? I shall have a word to say about Clause 8 in a minute, but it goes so far as to submit to planning control any material alteration of the external appearance of a building.
§ Mr. McAllister (Rutherglen)
I thought the right hon. and learned Gentleman intended to develop that point. Surely, he will admit that the controversy is not between two groups of Socialists, but between the Clyde Valley Regional Planning Committee and its technical planners under Professor Sir Patrick Abercrombie on the one hand, and the Glasgow Planning Committee and its city engineer, who is not a planner, on the other.
§ Mr. Reid
I have always understood that Socialists regard themselves as the arch-priests of planning, and when I find two leading groups of Socialists falling out over a comparatively simple matter of this kind, and at daggers drawn about it, it rather destroys my faith in them as planners. That is all. Is it really a very wise thing to commit to these people complete control of the aesthetic side of architecture? I should have thought there was a great difference of opinion among planners and others about that. Some of the more modern architects, and others, have ideas of external appearance which are rather shocking to old-fashioned people, and no doubt the views of old-fashioned people are equally shocking to the moderns. I am sure I should not like some of these modern people to be controlling my activities in that way, and they would not like me to be controlling theirs. Surely, the better plan is that we should he allowed to go our ways, so far as possible, and convince the general public at the end of the day who is right. If you have all this control, unless you ride with a very light rein, you will stifle progress. After all, even the views of planners change, and the views of 20 years ago would not be regarded as completely orthodox today. All this planning necessarily means that you stereotype the ideas of the people in charge at the moment, who are very often 20 years out of date, and I am not at all sure it is a good idea.
1730 I pass on to the next, which is perhaps an even more serious objection, the elaboration of the procedure. My hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Mr. Bossom) made it quite clear in the course of the Debate on the English Bill that there were not nearly enough, well-trained planners in Britain today to do the jobs the Bill imposed on them. Indeed, that was admitted by the Minister of Town and Country Planning. In the proceedings on the English Bill he told us that a new type of planner would have to be trained before we could make any real progress. He told us that the survey would presenta reliable and detailed analysis of the communityand that it requiredthe co-operative effort of economists, geographers, sociologists and other professionsalso thatA new type of planner will have to be trained to carry out this broader conception of planning."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th January. 1947: Vol. 432, c. 962.]Yet this has all to be done within three years.
§ Mr. Reid
I see the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister) assenting. He wanted to go even beyond the Minister, and to have a new breed of planner, who would not only plan the city, but the lives of the people in the city. That is the risk when we come to this very elaborate plan—that we do not stop at planning bricks and mortar, but plan the life of the community. There might be a good deal to be said for planning the actual building, but there is nothing to be said—and we will fight any such idea—for planning the life of the community, by experts. Is it sense to start on an elaborate investigation of this sort, knowing we have not the manpower to do it, and that those whom we have are not, according to the people who ought to know, trained on the right lines?
In this matter a bad plan is worse than no plan. If there is no plan, things get along, and public opinion has some sort of restraining influence. It is not as good as a good plan, but a bad plan has all the disadvantages and none of the advantages of freedom. There is a grave risk of producing bad plans here, and of making the last state worse than the first. There is another reason why we should be cautious in this matter. We have been told by the 1731 present Government that, even under Socialism, something like 80 per cent. of our industrial activities will depend on private, individual initiative. Individual initiative is somewhat easily discouraged. That was one of the reasons for the slumps in the old days. It is a very easy thing to discourage individual initiative, and I am very much afraid that there are so many discouragements in this Bill that they may be cumulatively disastrous. The Uthwatt Report, which is quoted in the White Paper, took a very optimistic view about this. They said:Neither the total demand for development nor its average annual rate is materially affected, if at all, by planning ordinances.I just do not believe that. If there are too many planning restrictions, the amount of development will be very seriously diminished. Today, of course, because there are so many permits and restrictions and so little building allowed anyway, a few extra restrictions do not matter. But the day may come when full employment depends on there being encouragement for investment and development. This Bill does its best to prevent that. If that time ever comes, and if full employment ever does depend—as I think it ultimately must—on ample investment and development, this Bill may turn out to be quite disastrous because of its hampering effect. It defeats its own object by being too elaborate.
Clause 8 controls almost every type of building, and almost every type of change of use. It does not say, "All that you have to ask for is permission," but, "You have to pay for every kind of change of use." The sum one has to pay might, very easily, take the whole profit out of the project. Indeed, it is the intention of certain Socialists, that the sum to be paid shall take the whole profit out of the project. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I get confirmation of that. If a business is to be developed, and the businessman sees that he has a great deal of trouble to get over all the permissions, all the red tape arrangements, and all the delays, and is then to have this sum assessed, and to pay it before he is allowed to go ahead, shorn of the prospect of profit, is it likely that he will do it, particularly when he considers the alternative? If he stays as he is, putting up with old-fashioned, cramped buildings, he is allowed to enjoy the whole of the increasing value which 1732 may accrue from developments in the future. He is not charged anything. There is a direct inducement to refrain from development, and to put up with the old-fashioned, cramped, inconvenient buildings he owns. Is that consistent with increasing the wealth of the country and maintaining full employment? I should think it is plainly inconsistent.
That is not the whole story, for Clause 8 is so widely drawn that no one can tell where it stops. Anything might be regarded as "a change of use." If one changes a room from a storeroom to an office, that might easily be regarded as a change of use. If one changes from making one product to making another in the same factory, that, again, might easily be regarded as a change of use. The thing is not defined, and the only person allowed to do so is the Secretary of State. One may go to him for a ruling, but one is carefully kept from the court. I would like the Lord Advocate to tell me why a subject who wants to know the meaning of this Act of Parliament will not be allowed to go to the court for a ruling. The only thing he can do if he does not like the view of the Secretary of State is to say, "I will take the risk of going ahead, and the risk of my being right in law, and the Secretary of State being wrong." But, if at the end of the day, when he is prosecuted, the court holds that the Secretary of State is right, he has to pay penalties. He cannot go to the court at any earlier stage. I should think the least the right hon. Gentleman should do when introducing a vague Bill of this kind is to allow recourse to the court to see what the law really means. I wish to draw attention to one matter in regard to which I cannot help thinking there has been a failure to appreciate the meaning of the terms of the Bill. The Bill says that if a single dwellinghouse is used as two separate dwellings, that is development. That is to say, a development charge has to be paid, and no sub-tenant can be let in until that development charge has been paid. That is a very odd thing, when we know the desperate state of housing in Scotland today. A sub-tenant must not be let in until all this rigmarole has been gone through, and the necessary charge has been paid. This Bill goes out of its way to use those words "separate dwelling," which caused so much trouble under the Rent Restriction Acts, and no 1733 one can tell, when part of a house is sublet, whether it is being sublet as a separate dwelling or not.
What is to be done about it? It really is as foolish at this: I think that this is about the latest state of the law. If I propose to sublet part of my house, allowing to my sub-tenant the common use of both the bathroom and the kitchen, that is not development. I do not need to pay a charge, and I can go right ahead. But if my sub-letting provides for separate kitchen accommodation and for sharing only the bathroom, or for sharing nothing, that is converting the house into separate dwellings. One cannot do it until one has come to London and had a development charge assessed, and has paid it. I have never seen such a ridiculous provision in any Measure. I cannot help thinking that those who have drafted this provision have been completely unaware of its consequences. I should be interested to learn from the Lord Advocate what conceivable reason there is for introducing this extremely confusing provision into the law of planning.
I come to the question of how much one has to pay as a development charge. Again, that is completely in the air. The Secretary of State recited the provisions of Clause 60 (2)—that the Board must have regard to the probable increase in value. To "have regard" may mean anything up to 100 per cent. It may mean even more than 100 per cent. The Secretary of State referred to certain principles. It is odd that they should be called principles, because they can vary from time to time. Perhaps that is the right hon. Gentleman's impression of the meaning of "principles"—I do not know. These principles can vary in at least four ways. Two are recited in the Bill. It depends on the class of development and on the time at which development takes place. There are two others which are not mentioned in the Bill. The place of development was mentioned by the English Minister as a consideration—the Board would give a cheaper rate to those who went to development areas or places where development ought to be encouraged, than to those who went to other areas. I ask the Lord Advocate if it is contemplated in Scotland that the Board shall give a cheaper rate to people who go to one area than is given to people who go to another area.
1734 Then there are extremely odd provisions in Clauses 62 and 63, which lead necessarily to personal favouritism. The Board assess a development charge on a particular individual for a development of a particular kind. But the Bill specifically lays down that if that person assigns his right to carry out exactly the same development to some other person, the Board can come along and put an extra charge on that second person. There is nothing there except personal favouritism. There is no difference between those two people. What is the reason for that provision? I should be interested to know. When one links that up with the power of the Secretary of State for direction in secret, the matter becomes rather menacing. There is another point about this. One cannot discover how much one is to pay, until one has not only got planning permission, but has satisfied the planning authority that one is going to proceed in any case. That is provided in Clause 60. How can one say that one is going on until one knows how much one has got to pay? I would like the Lord Advocate's explanation of why that has been put in the Bill. It is certain to lead to deadlock in many cases, and I think that what I said a few moments ago about hampering development, is more than amply proved by what I have now said.
I can see one reason why these extremely queer provisions are put in the Bill. They arise out of the terms of Clause 38, which entitle the Central Land Board to be a middleman, and to buy land from its owner and sell it again to the developer, with the development charge added. If the intention is to prevent any development except through the medium of the Central Land Board, acting as a middleman, then the Bill is admirably drawn. But if the intention is that there shall be any development at all, either by the existing owner, or by someone who negotiates directly with the existing owner and not through the Central Land Board, the Bill has seriously failed in its purpose. What is to be the result of all this? The small man who wants to develop will be tied up in a mass of red tape. It is all very well to say that the Central Land Board will be like an ordinary landlord. It is far too big for that; it is bound to get tied up in red tape, and the big man will have a tremendous advantage. The man 1735 who can offer 10,000 new jobs when unemployment is looming large, can bring tremendous political pressure to bear on the Secretary of State to give a direction to the Central Land Board to let him have the land cheap. The direction will be secret. There is no provision about it being made public. What will inevitably happen is that the big man will bring political pressure to bear on the Government, and get all he wants, whereas the small man, whom one ought to encourage, Will be held up at every turn. That, apparently, is Socialism.
I come to a point which we shall have to raise in further detail when we reach the Financial Resolution, namely, the fact that there is to be a joint Board with England. The Secretary of State made some assertions about that, and gave some reasons, but this joint Board is not merely to be a machinery body, but a body which must work out policy. [HON. MEMBERS: "No"] Of course it must, otherwise there would not be provision for it being directed by the Ministers. There will be a pull between England and Scotland, to attract new industries. The Board, by its decisions, will be able to influence the question of where industry is to go, by the way in which it negotiates and the prices it offers under Clause 38. If we had a separate Scottish Board, either autonomous or with the Secretary of State in the background, we should know that there was someone in Scotland who knew Scottish conditions, who was pushing Scottish interests and was trying to attract industry to Scotland.
§ Mr. Willis (Edinburgh, North)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman suggests that there will be competition between England and Scotland for new enterprises. Would he explain how two separate Boards would eliminate competition?
§ Mr. Reid
They would not eliminate competition; nothing will do that. What they would do would be to make the competition fair. If there are two Boards, offering industrialists the terms they can offer, there will be a fair balance, and it is for the Cabinet to see that there is a fair balance between Scotland and England. The thing will be open and above board But if there is one Board—
§ Mr. Reid
It will be decided here. So long as we remain a United Kingdom everything will be decided here. Even if we did not remain a United Kingdom, everything will be decided here at the end of the day. Surely, the point is that if we can get fair competition with everything above board, we shall attract industry on our merits. But if everything is to be "hole in the corner," with secret directions by this body sitting in London, and having a natural tendency, as all London domiciled bodies have, to favour the places nearest them, and the Secretary of State failing to pull his weight, as he inevitably will against a whole bunch of English Ministers, then Scotland will be let down, and nobody will know about it. I venture to submit to the right hon. Gentleman that it is a grave disservice to Scotland to insist that the management of Scottish land and development shall be done, in England, by a body which has a tremendous interest to favour England against Scotland. We shall have a good deal to say about this when we discuss the Financial Resolution which has been framed in a very peculiar way.
There are one or two other matters to which I would like to refer. This Bill is extremely complicated. Probably that could not be helped. The matter has been made much worse by the way in which it has been drawn. There are no fewer than seven pages of detailed Amendments in the Seventh Schedule to the existing provisions of the 1945 Act. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to ensure that before we reach the Committee stage, there shall be published a print of the remaining Sections of the 1945 Act, as they will read when these Amendments have been made. It is quite impossible for any hon. Member who is overworked, as most of us are just now, to follow what is being done in this Schedule. Therefore, let us have a print of all that will remain of the 1945 Act if this Schedule is approved.
The Secretary of State claimed that this Bill gave him central control. Does it? He referred to the fact that other Departments would consult with him. That does not mean much. Who has the last word? I see that under Clause 29 any Government Department can sanction any alteration to a development plan without the consent of the right hon. Gentleman. Indeed, the Clause goes further, because any Government Department, by authorising even purchases for 1737 a particular purpose, is deemed to have altered a development plan. Is the right hon. Gentleman quite satisfied that nothing will happen under Clause 29, which does not come to his notice, and that he will have the last word in this matter as the planning Minister? If not, this idea of central control is meaningless, having regard to the enormous extension of the activities of Government Departments. I am a little anxious about the whole matter because of the terms of Clause 79, which allows Government Departments to make assessments to be bound by the development plan, and says that in considering whether to make such an assessment, they are to have regard to certain matters. Apparently, the Bill contemplates that Government Departments which are not gracious enough to make assessments, can drive a coach and four through the development plan whenever they wish. That does not seem to me to be good planning. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see that it does not happen.
I pass to another side of the matter, namely, the figure of £300 million and the reasons for it. This is not really planning at all. This is an attempt to nationalise as much of the land as the Government think they can bite off at this moment. This idea about hardship will not hold water for one minute. The Government say they are following the Uthwatt Committee. They are flying right in the teeth of the Uthwatt Report so far as this is concerned. Page 19 of that Report draws a distinction between two types of interference with land rights. One type is where the owner is prohibited from doing something and that thing is not to be done at all by anybody in future. There they make out that there is a case for no compensation. But they make it quite clear that when the Government take over certain rights from the landlord, there is a right to compensation. That is exactly what the Government do here. They are taking over the development rights. If the Government were to say that there is to be no development by anybody, and restrictions are to be imposed in the public interest, there would be a case for saying there is to be no compensation. But the Government are not doing that. They say, "Of course there is to be development, but you are not to do it. We are going to 1738 do it." That is a plain case for compensation.
The only reason why the Government have called this "hardship" instead of "compensation," is to excuse in some way the fact that they have guessed at a sum which, at first sight, seems much too small. If it is not much too small, why should they not have an inquiry about it? I would ask the Lord Advocate a question to see whether "hardship" really means what it says, or whether it is only another way of expressing "compensation." If we have two men whose personal circumstances are different, but whose rights are comparable, and whose losses are the same by reason of development being taken away from them, will they get the same sum, although their personal conditions are different? Or is the sum to be different according to whether the one deserves more than the other. If the first is the case, if personal circumstances do not enter into the matter at all, then, of course, it is compensation, which is being wrapped up in this way, apparently, in order to avoid paying a sum properly ascertained. But if one person is to get less than another, not because of any difference in rights but because of a difference in personal circumstances, then we shall know where we are—but I shall be a little surprised if that is the answer. The matter is kept open. In Clause 48 there is a very odd provision indeed. A scheme for the settlement of this matter may determine the compensation either by reference to development values or by reference to such other circumstances as may be prescribed. What other circumstances than the value of the development rights are in the minds of the Government? I think we are entitled to an answer to that question.
On the question of the 1939 ceiling, as the right hon. Gentleman very well knows, the reason for the 1939 ceiling was because conditions were disturbed. Values had not settled down. In certain South Coast towns values were too small owing to war damage, while in other places values were too large, owing to the fact that the war had brought into those districts far more than the normal population. The only justification for keeping that 1939 ceiling is that we shall go on living in a period of turmoil. Is it the forecast of this Government, that we are going to go on living in a period of turmoil after the 1739 next two or three years? If they say "Yes," I can accept the reasons for the 1939 ceiling, but, if they look forward to a return of peace or prosperity during their tenure of office, I should have thought that they themselves would have given up the 1939 ceiling, and would have said, "We look forward to the return of something like peace and prosperity, and this is quite out of place; we are going to bring into operation a system which is more in keeping with that forecast" I hope the Government will tell us whether they are looking forward to the continuation of wartime conditions beyond 1949, or what other reason there is for maintaining the 1939 ceiling.
I have tried to cover all the points contained in the Amendment which I am moving. The intention is that it should sum up, in short form, the objections, which we feel very strongly, against the passing of this Bill.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
In accordance with the long-established custom of this House, I would ask for its indulgence today, and I would ask also for patience and for the forgiveness of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid), who has just spoken, if I do not follow him through the sad tale of tartan tribulation which he has just presented to us. It is a rather familiar tale to me, and I would merely draw the attention of the right hon. and learned Gentleman to the fact that, for me, that matter was decided on 6th December by the people of Kilmarnock, when a Scottish Nationalist, who had the benefit of sincerity in what he was preaching, lost his deposit. It is not really fair to say that I represent merely the people of Kilmarnock, because that scattered Division of 200 square miles covers some of the most historic lands of Scotland, taking in large burghs, small burghs and rural villages from Fen-wick as far as Moscow, and I would remind hon. Members opposite that I shall take great exception to hearing anyone here again describe any hon. Member other than myself as representing the people of Moscow.
The background of these people and the history of that part of Ayrshire has been summed up by Robert Burns himself in "Scots Wha Hae'." Liberty has been 1740 in their every blow. Men from those fields, hills and valleys fought with Wallace, when the local gentry were still trying to make up their minds which side was going to win. They fought with Bruce, and the heather of the Highlands around Fenwick was made even redder by the blood of the Covenanters who fought for religious liberty. It was in Ayrshire, and in that part of Ayrshire at Mauchline that Robert Burns lived and farmed, and it was in Kilmarnock that his poems were first printed. The people living in a land with such a rich historical background could only, and naturally, be as progressive-minded as they are. Their ancestors fought for national and religious liberty, they fought for political liberty and for all those reasons in the recent war the people of Kilmarnock fought for the liberty of Britain. They welcome this Bill, because they see in it, once again. a chance to free Scotland economically, a chance to free Scotland from Scottish landlords.
There is nothing in Scottish landlords which makes them intrinsically better than English landlords. In fact they very often are the same people. The Marquess of Bute, who can sell Cardiff for £20 million, is the same Marquess of Bute who can hold up housing in Rothesay and Cumnock or even in my own native town of Ayr. These people have taken their toll of Scottish industry, and of private enterprise which is so dear to the hearts of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I sometimes wondered, during the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, whether he was expressing the sentiments of Scottish Unionists or of Land Unionists. Scottish landlords have reaped benefits from enterprises to which they did not contribute one hour's labour or even a single idea. They have for generations, held to ransom the local authorities whenever land was needed to build Scottish houses, to build Scottish schools or erect Scottish hospitals. I cannot see any indication in this. Bill of injustice to impoverished Scottish landlords, nor do the people of Kilmarnock.
The hon. and gallant Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir T. Moore) was telling us week ago—I am sorry he is not in his place—about the Ayrshire Electricity Bill. The hon. and gallant Member would also know that last week the Ayrshire Electricity Board, in order to get a piece of property for a development at Mauchline, 1741 were asked to pay £1,250 per acre. Once again, the enterprise of a local authority was being soaked by our Scottish landowners. Scotland has been planned before. We have known planning in Scotland before this, and we have known it only too well. I heard a speech in this House by the hon. Member for South Edinburgh (Sir W. Darling), who usually decorates a back bench on the other side of the House, in which he seemed to be suggesting that soldiers who came from Scotland, and the men who worked throughout the war in Scotland, and who helped to win that war, were men produced by a planless Scotland. It was a planned Scotland, but a chaotically-planned Scotland, and the reason for the war was the same reason of chaotic planning: and it was in spite of that chaotic planning, that these men could shoulder the burdens and responsibilities of their nationhood. The desolation of the Scottish Highlands was planned by feudal irresponsibility. The shims of Glasgow were planned, not to meet the needs of the people of Glasgow, but to meet the demands of the landowners.
I can well remember myself, as a schoolmaster in that part of Glasgow which is represented by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), that that school was once set among fields, but in 50 years that district had become a slum. I looked out of one window across to an ironworks, pouring out 24 hours a day noxious fumes into the air which those people breathed. I could see from another window the tomb of Sir Thomas Lipton. From another window I was stared at. There was an old woman living in a tenement adjoining my classroom who just sat for about two hours every morning looking in, from a top storey window of one of Glasgow's splendidly planned tenements. The "Noon Record" usually arrived at about 12 o'clock, and I was almost able to help her pick out the winners, so close was the tenement to the classroom. Such were the conditions of those schools, despite the opportunity open to the friends of the right hon. and learned Gentleman to do something about planning for that part of Scotland. The very names of the streets round about were indicative of what the district was like originally. There were such names as "Silver Fir Street," "Pine Street," "Orchard Street," and so on. At one time, the place had been 1742 a garden, but, thanks to bad planning, it had become a slum.
I feel that what that kind of planning lacked was moral consciousness and social purpose. This Bill accepts right away the moral and social responsibility to plan the land of Scotland in order to meet the needs of Scotland and of the Scottish people. I shall be very interested to see these plans, because I do not want the planning to he the uniform sort of the formula planners. If the planners of Scotland's future are to do justice to the Scottish people, they must plan from the past, from Scottish history, in Scottish character, and in accordance with the needs of the community. They must start first with the family; they must give the family light and air, and allow it to breathe freely in open spaces. If possible, they must also plan to allow for a life of culture and of leisure within the communities which are now to be built. We want nothing stereotyped, nothing hard, cheap and shoddy in our planning of the new Scotland. We want something worthy of the people of Scotland. It was Robert Burns who declared that he hoped to do somethingTo preserve the dignity of man, with soul erect.This Bill gives us the opportunity to plan a Scotland in which man can have a soul; let that soul be erect. We are not so proud of our Scottish towns as we see them today, as we are of our Scottish scenery. It was not Scotsmen who made the Scottish scenery, and we often see the difference where the hand of God meets the hand of man when we go into Scottish towns. There are parts of Scotland of which every Scotsman should be thoroughly ashamed. We must wipe out the indignities of the past, but we must see that all the best of the past which was ours is retained, and we must build and expand in a way that is characteristic of Scotland. If we do that, we shall have what all Scotsmen want, a Scotland in which men can preserve their dignity and their decency.
§ 5.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Maclay (Montrose Burghs)
It is a privilege for me to make my maiden effort in congratulating an hon. Member on his maiden speech. I have never done so before, and I am glad to have the opportunity of doing it today. I feel a certain 1743 sympathy with the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. W. Ross) who has just spoken—although not much. It so happens that it was four years after I became a Member of this House, before I was able to maze my own maiden speech. The hon. Member for Kilmarnock has done it in less than four months, and with such fluency and conviction that if, after another two years in this House, I am able to do as well as he has done, I shall be quite satisfied. I do not propose to go in detail into what he has said because that would mean creating a controversy, which one does not do on a maiden speech. I hope that we shall hear lots more from the hon. Gentleman when, no doubt, we shall be able to enter into controversy which, I think, will give him satisfaction as well as ourselves.
However, in some ways, I do propose to follow the hon. Gentleman. He talked a good deal about the type of plan which he hoped would come out of this Bill. Obviously, everyone agrees that Scotland deserves the very best. For years past there has been a need for more intelligent planning, consideration and general supervision of the development of the whole country, and of Scotland in particular. We have been slow to realise that the sum total of unco-ordinated individual ideas does not necessarily produce the perfect result. I believe that every party realises that, and efforts have been made for years past to produce a better method of planning the resources and the layout of the country. But I would remind hon. Members, and particularly the hon. Member for Kilmarnock, that penicillin would have been a marvellous thing if it had been available 100 years ago. It would have been very useful to have had it all that time ago, but it was not possible to have it. In the same way, we are now all feeling our way towards what is best for the country but we have certainly not reached the ideal in this Bill; there is a lot to be done yet.
In our new-found passion for planning, which goes right through this country and, I believe, all sections of this House, we must not forget what individuals in the past have done. I know that there are parts of Scotland today of which every Scot must be ashamed, but there were circumstances which made the production of those blots almost inevitable. There are other examples, where individuals 1744 have produced much that is beautiful and good from every standard. The advent of committees and plans has not been an unmixed blessing. I would beseech hon. Members just to have a look at the various monuments all over this country and Scotland. A great many of them emerged from the deliberations of committees working to some kind of plan. There are some of these in Scotland of which I do not think we can be very proud. Planning does not depend for success upon an Act of Parliament. The real question is, Who are the planners, what are their motives, and where do they get their inspiration? That question cannot be answered in relation to this Bill, and it is on those lines that I propose to proceed. I have always believed that certain negative controls are essential in the matter of town and country planning. It is comparatively simple to discover what not to do. We can see the mistakes which have been made in the past, and can draw up certain rules to see that they are not repeated, but it is really a very different matter for a central body to assume the mantle of all-comprehending wisdom, and that is just what this Government are trying painfully to do in so many directions. The trouble is that the pain is not felt by the Government, but rather by the whole suffering country.
I am talking as if this Bill provided for a central plan and am casting doubts on whether a central plan can produce the desired results. In the Bill itself provision is made for local planning committees, for town and county councils and the councils of large burghs to be the local planning authorities. But the question is. Can they really function today? Have the Government not already taken away from the citizens of this country the power to make innumerable decisions? What applies to the citizens, must also apply to the local planning authorities.
I propose to deal with one question, that of the distribution of industry. Clearly, for any local planning authority to do its job and to produce its plans within three years, as set forth in this Bill, it must have some idea of what the industrial development of its area is going to be. Without that knowledge, it cannot begin to plan sensibly. The Act which we already have, dealing with the distribution of industry, known as the Distribution of Industries Act, was passed by the last Government. I think it is 1745 a very poor Act, and the reason for that is that when it was in the Committee stage, unfortunately, the Coalition dissolved. It was one of the minor disasters of the dissolution of the Coalition that the Distribution of Industry Act was only half baked by the Committee. If we had had more time on it, we could have done a lot to improve it. What is happening under that Act? At the moment, the development areas, the old distressed areas, are getting complete priority in the allocation of new industry. Industry is not necessarily directed into the development areas, but there are powers of inducement, and there are immense powers of negative control in the Distribution of Industry Act and in other powers which the Government holds to prevent industries going into other districts.
I would like to know if that policy is to be continued is the Distribution of Industry Act to be altered, or will a new Act be produced? How can the local planning authorities begin to make a coherent plan if they do not know the answer to that question? I hope the Minister will give us an answer, because all over Scotland there are communities waiting with great anxiety to know the answer to that question, and certainly they cannot plan in accordance with this Measure unless they do know the answer. One of the disastrous effects of the Distribution of Industry Act is that men are now leaving the smaller communities and drifting back to the distressed areas. The men are leaving the Highlands of Scotland and the small towns outside the development areas, because of the lack of industrial opportunity. All we have is this Bill which would seem to perpetuate those conditions. That is one of the matters about which local planning authorities must know something if they are to function.
Let me take another example. What about ports and harbours? The Government are about to give to the Minister of Transport and the Transport Commission very strong powers over the future of various ports and harbours. How can any local planning authority function if they do not know whether a certain harbour is to be abolished, enlarged or changed altogether? One could go on with these points. What about the railway executive which is to be set up under another Bill? It is going to do certain 1746 things to the railways. How can the local planning authorities function if they do not know what will happen to the local lines which run through their areas.
This is where the whole semblance of local responsibility conferred by this Bill is shown up as a complete sham. One is bound to look a little further into the matter. The Bill shows where local authorities cannot function. We find that every scheme must be submitted to the Secretary of State for Scotland before it is approved. Inevitably we must begin to wonder whether there is somewhere, lurking unseen, a master plan. If there is not, how can the local planning authorities get on with their planning effectively, in ignorance of all these major points? If there is a master plan, surely we should have it. If there is not, are the local authorities to ask the Minister of Trans port about ports and harbours? Are they to go, to the Minister of Fuel and Power and ask him the position about the pits? Are they to go round all the Ministries and find out what they intend to do?
It seems to me that it this Bill means anything at all, there is lurking in the background somewhere a master plan for the country which has the answer to all these questions. If not, this Bill is a fraudulent illusion, and is implying a lot of things which cannot be done. All we shall get will be a lot of local plans which will be sent to the Secretary of State for correlation, and I do not know how he will correlate them. If there is a master plan, we should be told what those planners have in mind for Galloway and Benbecula, what they intend to do with the islands of Eigg, Rum and Muck, and what they have in store for the Gorbals. They must be somewhere in the plan. I am sorry to labour this point, but it seems to me to be the very essence of the Bill. We ought to know what is going on. It is clear that the local planning authorities cannot produce their plans without information on these wider aspects. Surely the planning authority is not to be the Central Land Board? In his opening speech, the Secretary of State mentioned that the Central Land Board had certain functions of policy, but I took it that they were related to compensation May we have it clear that the Central Land Board is not a planning authority as such? If it is, we should 1747 know it, because the composition of the Central Land Board becomes all the more important, and one will certainly have very strong views to express with regard to the representation of Scotland. It is bad enough if its functions are merely what I had imagined, but if it is going in for broad planning we must know quickly before the Committee stage is reached, or even before the Financial Resolution this evening is reached, because I think we would have to deal with that point on the Financial Resolution.
One comes back to the question: Is it to be the Secretary of State who is to do all these things? Is he to be the central planner? May I say at this point that, although the right hon. Gentleman did not deal with some of the aspects which we would like dealt with, he made a very clear exposition of the Bill as it stands? However, we should have liked him to go a little further on the lines on which I am speaking now. In his opening speech, he discussed briefly the question of the local authorities, the local advisory committees and their powers to co-opt. I am a little worried about that aspect of the Bill which leaves that option to the local authorities. Far be it from me to force on the local authorities anything they do not want, but this question of planning is so technical that it is not right that a local authority should appoint a sub-committee of itself without calling in any expert advice to assist them on this question. With the best intentions in the world. I doubt if the ordinary member of a local authority is qualified to think very constructively on planning in this connection. Some are, but a good many are not. The Secretary of State should induce local planning authorities to use their powers of co-option so that they obtain the best possible advice. That applies to the local planning authorities.
Let us look at the position of the Secretary of State We have eliminated the local planning authorities as the producers of the master plan, without which they cannot even produce a local plan, if it is to be worth anything. We do not think it ran be the Central Land Board, although we would like to know for certain if it will be Therefore, we must assume that it is the Secretary of State for Scotland. What I want to know is, who will advise him? It is a very important thing to know I would remind 1748 him of a tag of my childhood when I was at school, which I think went like this: Qurs custodiet tpsos custodes? which roughly translated, means, "Who takes care of the caretaker's daughter when the caretaker is busy taking care?" The question one must ask is, who makes plans for the local planners when the local planners are busy making plans? Will the Secretary of State have an expert body in permanent session handling this master plan? Will he use his Department?
One can admire the work of civil servants in a great many things, although I have always had slight doubts about their abilities as town planners since I saw the British Legation in Stockholm, built to the plan of the Ministry of Works. It was a beautiful building. The only thing they had forgotten was that it snows very heavily in Stockholm. As any hon. Member who goes there will notice, the British Legation is the only building in Stockholm which has a basement, with windows below ground level; with the net result that the best part of the Minister's salary goes in getting the snow dug out of the basement. That is what we get from civil servants when they plan without knowledge of local conditions. Therefore, I cannot believe it is intended to leave the matter entirely to the Minister's own Department.
In brief: Can we have a fairly comprehensive reply to all these rather detailed questions on the wider aspects of this Bill, Which we are now discussing? I should like to knew too, whether Scottish organisations, such as the Saltire Society, are to be brought in. The Saltire Society has done most admirable work in connection with the Scottish scene, from the point of view of the humanities as well as the aesthetic. Another body which sometimes worries me—although it is a very constructive body in some ways—is the Scottish Convention. I will not pretend that I agree with everything it does, but I have seen some good work achieved by it. Can we rely on all these various bodies, which have a wide knowledge of Scotland, being brought fully into the construction of this master plan?
I make no apology for having laboured this point. I have not attempted to go into many details in the Bill because I am sure they will be dealt with otherwise. I finish on one theme, reverting to the Distribution of Industry Act of the last 1749 Parliament. One of the Clauses that had to be dropped, in order to get the Bill through before the Dissolution of Parliament, was the celebrated Clause 9. That was a Clause which gave powers to restrict the future development of industry in certain sections of the country, towns or areas. It was quite clear that that Clause would be hotly contested by hon. Members of every party in the House. I wonder if the Secretary of State himself really understands just what powers he is getting under this Bill? He has a far more effective Clause 9 than was envisaged in the Distribution of Industry Act when it was before us. I wonder if hon. Members opposite realise that under this Bill there is complete and absolute control of the industrial development of every town and city in Scotland? I really think that is the case. I have studied the Bill to see if I am wrong, but find we have here the most completely dictatorial control over industrial development in town and country without even calling in the aid of the other emergency powers still in operation. No doubt we need a perfect planner, of the kind the hon. Member for Kilmarnock had in mind when he described the future of Scotland, but we must remember that political considerations can very easily enter into the matter.
I think I have covered enough ground to show that there is a good deal to be answered when the Debate is wound up. Even if we get fairly satisfactory answers to the questions I have put, I still do not feel that this Bill is a possible one. There is also the very acute problem of the 1939 values. I was interested to hear the Secretary of State saying that the whole question was being looked into. We should have known that, I think, from the early statement of the Chancellor. However, I hope the Secretary of State will add his full weight to the Chancellor's deliberations in order to get something done about it. I should like to remind him of a comparable case, in connection with a fishing boat in Arbroath. That was a fantastic position, in which a boat, almost new at the outbreak of war, had been lost by the time the end of the war came, but under the Compensation (Defence) Act, on 1939 values, the owner is offered £2,300. His neighbour, who also had his boat requisitioned during the war, gets his boat back, plus £2,400 to put it in order. I only quote that case because it is precisely comparable to situations which can 1750 arise under this Bill. I beseech the Secretary of State to add his full weight to the deliberations, in order to get the position of the 1939 values put right, if possible before this Bill goes through the Committee stage. For that reason, that of the 1939 values, and for a great many others, I am unable to support the Bill in its present form, and I have great pleasure in supporting the Amendment.
§ 5.56 p.m.
§ Mr. McAllister (Rutherglen)
If I may, I should like to add my congratulations to those of the hon. Member for Montrose Burghs (Mr. Maclay) on the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. W. Ross). His speech was, I think, in the covenanting tradition, of the kind we expect from that part of the country, showing the spirit which has always been very precious to the hearts of Scotsmen. It is always a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Montrose. I think we have always agreed that the Distribution of Industry Act, 1945, does call for some revision. It was, in fact, not a distribution of industry Act, but a distressed areas Act, and as such mitigates against the betterment and improvement of some of the smaller country towns throughout the United Kingdom. But I should also recommend to him a study of the benefits Scotland has reaped as a result of that Measure. It has conferred greater benefit on Scotland than any other Bill that has passed through this House in recent years.
It is true, we have in Scotland today some 80,000 unemployed, and hon. Members, on these benches at any rate, are deeply concerned regarding that state of affairs. Nevertheless, through the Distribution of Industry Act, 1945, the Government have taken steps to provide work for over 100,000 persons It is aimed at providing work for 145,000 persons—145,000 more jobs than were available to Scotsmen before the war. That seems to me a very great achievement indeed; and as the plan takes shape, and as the new factories go up, we can see an end to the distress, poverty, and misery that affected so many of our fellow citizens before the war.
§ Mr. Maclay
I think the hon. Member will agree that, while much work has been done for the development areas, the plan in regard to industry as a whole should 1751 have been decided simultaneously, because we are steadily losing the population from the non-development areas.
§ Mr. McAllister
I entirely agree with the hp. Member, and I am sure many Members of the Government would also agree with that view, and I hope they are examining the matter with the close attention it deserves.
Before passing on to the remarks of the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) I should like to deal with one aspect of the Bill which specially concerns myself. I ought here to follow the practice of the House in declaring my interest. I refer to Clauses 26 and 27, which deal with outdoor advertising. I myself happen to be a practitioner in the advertising profession. I think the advertising industry will welcome as much as the public the advertising Clauses in this Bill. We must be reasonable; we must see that our countryside is no longer despoiled by outrageous and ugly advertising. We must see that some of the finest and noblest parts of our cities are not destroyed by ugly advertising.
We might appeal to the Government to remove the sandbags and hoardings round Eros in Piccadilly Circus, and to remove the hoardings from the face of the Nelson monument. I think that that would be a good lead towards very desirable developments in the control of advertising. But, also, we must be careful to leave advertising room and freedom to contribute the things that advertising, just before the war, contributed to the zest and life of our people in our towns and cities. One thinks of the great posters of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company, beautiful works of art which were presented on every railway station; one thinks of posters such as those produced by the London Passenger Transport Board, or by some of the brewing companies. They were, in fact, outdoor art galleries, bringing very fine works of art to the attention of masses of people who could not be brought, in any circumstances, to a museum or art gallery.
There is one more thing I should like to say about advertising. If we must—and I think in this the Bill is right—have areas of special control, where advertising is subjected to most rigorous discipline, I think we may borrow a leaf from Sir Patrick Abercrombie's hook, and have 1752 "localised hells"—I think that that term was invented by Sir Patrick Abercrombie—where people are allowed to do more or less as they please without any restrictions whatever. If these areas were not too numerous, I think more good than harm would result. Perhaps, it will be tempting to hon. Members opposite if I mention electric signs. It is not, perhaps, the best moment to speak of them, but I think neon signs contribute something to the life and sparkle of the towns. At least, it will comfort the Minister of Fuel and Power to know that they are the smallest users of current of any type of sign that can be permitted; and, indeed, the biggest neon sign in the United Kingdom uses only five units of electricity in 24 hours and that is a small price to pay, in days when there can be greater use of electricity than is possible at the moment, for something that adds to the gaiety of the theatre districts and the pleasure parts of our great towns.
Planners must be resolute, not only in this thing, but in everything, to see that their prejudices do not overrule the natural instincts and desires of the masses of the people. This consideration must appeal, or should appeal to everyone. I must say I was a little shocked that the speech of the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead betrayed no interest in planning. It scarcely touched on the subject of planning; it never got to the heart of planning. He was concerned with the 1939 values; concerned with the question of compensation, and whether there was enough compensation; but the question of planning, the question of the future of our towns and countryside, hardly entered into his speech from beginning to end. It is rather a sorry thing—
§ Mr. McAllister
I think it might to some very limited extent apply to the speech of the Secretary of State, but the Secretary of State gave—and the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead had not the courtesy to give him credit for it—a very lucid explanation of the Bill. I have known the Secretary of State, not only in this House, but over many years; and if anyone in Scotland has been more concerned with the planning of our towns and countryside in the past than he, I have not met him. But the right hon. 1753 and learned Member for Hillhead made one extraordinary statement; one statement which, I think, the Labour Party will be glad to cherish, and to use on many future occasions. He said that individual enterprise was a very tender thing, very easily wilted. One would hardly think that that was a statement of a man who believed that private enterprise was a great, vigorous institution, capable of solving difficulties that even collective action might find it difficult to resolve. But he said nothing about beauty, nothing about the countryside, nothing about the finer aspects of architecture—and, in Heaven's name, let us remember that Scotland has a great tradition in all these things.
It is interesting that the Bill retains part of the planning powers of the Scottish burghs—of Saint Andrews by the Northern Sea, one of the most beautiful towns in Scotland, one of the most beautiful towns anywhere, and of Thurso. And let us repair to the city of Glasgow, the city with the finest architecture of any great city in the United Kingdom, with magnificent terraces, with a range of buildings which, going back through the centuries, stamp Glasgow as a city which was great, which was adventurous, which cared for the trade of the country, and which, at the same time, had a reverence and a deep affection for beauty. Glasgow dwindled into something less than Glasgow could have become. The Secretary of State said we had halved the worst densities in Scotland. We have. But no density is worse than that in the city of Glasgow; no density is worse than 750 persons to the acre; and, an average, over-all density, over four square miles, of over 400 persons to the acre.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said there was a conflict between two groups of Scottish Socialists, Saint Andrew's House, on the one hand, and Glasgow Corporation, on the other. It was a misrepresentation. The conflict is not between two groups of Socialists. The conflict is between the planners—and by "planners" I this time mean the technical planners. We have the great Report of Sir Patrick Abercrombie for the Clyde Valley Regional Planning Committee, and against that we have the second rate effort of the Glasgow City Engineer. That is not a conflict between Socialists. That is a conflict between a 1754 very great town planner, recognised the world over as a great town planner, and a man who, however skilled he may be as a city engineer is not a town planner at all. The city engineer of Glasgow said that he could rehouse all the people of Glasgow within the area of the city itself. Well, it can be done. They are housed there now; and, obviously, if one does not propose to reduce those densities, they can be housed there again. But if one proposes that in the huddled, pent-up centre of Glasgow, where 750,000 people are living on an area of 2,500 acres, the people should have light and air and sunlight, and playing fields, and gardens, and public parks; and if the schools in that area are to have the special recreational facilities which they must have under the new Education Act; then, it is quite impossible to rehouse the people of Glasgow within the confines of the city of Glasgow.
Then we come up against another problem and another conflict. Glasgow has stretched out its tentacles one step further, and has taken within its grasp the beautiful estate of Castle Milk, which lies between my constituency of Ruther-glen and the city of Glasgow. Castle Milk ought to have been part of Glasgow's green belt. It ought to have been a division between the second city of the British Empire and the oldest town in the whole of Scotland. It is an impertinence for anyone connected with the city of Glasgow to oppose East Kilbride on the ground that it comes within, or ought to come within, the green belt area The hon. Lady the Member for Coat-bridge (Mrs. Mann) might be entitled, if she wanted, to make a criticism of that kind, but for the people who have destroyed the existing open spaces between Glasgow and Rutherglen to talk about East Kilbride is, I think, carrying things too far.
The Secretary of State, in the course of his speech—and this I think proves that the hon. Member for Montrose Burghs was not quite right—said that building densities are higher in Scotland than anywhere else in Great Britain, and that there are a larger number of houses of one or two rooms. It is precisely because of those huddled congested conditions in Scotland that this Bill is absolutely necessary. I was delighted to see these words in the explanatory memorandum: 1755Redevelopment involves thinning out; buildings must be further apart; open spaces, wider roads and parking places must be provided; some of the firms working in the area and some of the people living there must be given new accommodation elsewhere.This Bill is remarkable because it is the first in the legislative history of planning to put right in the forefront of its objectives the idea that we must have a policy of decentralisation of population and industry. Although we may have not got the perfect machinery, this Bill is a step towards it, and the hon. Member for Montrose Burghs and all others who care passionately for our small country, towns should welcome any Measure that hastens this process of decentralisation, both in the interest of the countryside and in the interest of the inhabitants of our pent-up cities, because that is the basis of all our planning here.
We talk of Barlow, Scott and Uthwatt, and that trinity will remain honoured for many years, but Barlow, Scott and Uthwatt did not invent the theories that they put forth. A very great Scotsman, Sir Patrick Geddes, can claim most of the credit. From the town of Edinburgh Sir Patrick Geddes put forward the ideas which are now accepted in town and country planning, and the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead was more legally able than factually accurate when he said that the town planning ideas of 20 years ago are not the planning ideas of today. He was wrong. The planning ideas of today are the planning ideas that Sir Patrick Geddes was advocating 50 years ago and which Sir Patrick Abercrombie advocates today.
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid
Does the hon. Gentleman say that there has been no progress from the planning idea that there must not be a straight line on a housing scheme, so that all the houses look like a lot of pillboxes broadcast out of a pepper pot?
§ Mr. McAllister
I am very glad to know that the right hon. and learned Gentleman takes an interest in aesthetics, because that was not revealed in his speech, but this question now shows that he does. It is not a question of straight lines or curved lines; it is a question of reasonable human densities, and that could have been settled if the teachings of Sir Patrick Geddes 50 years ago had been followed The question of straight lines 1756 or curved does not matter at all, and can be left to the discretion of individual planners and architects, and I hope that in all out plans we shall see great variety. I hope the people who belong to the "streets school," the "vista-mongers" as some people call them, will be allowed to show us what they can do, and that the people who are in favour of a more open form of planning will also be allowed to show us what they can do.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said there were not enough planners. Of course there are not enough planners, and some of the responsibility for that lies upon hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, because when the right hon. and learned Gentleman's colleague the right hon. Member for Cirencester (Mr. W. S. Morrison) was Minister of Town and Country Planning, and other Members of his party were in his Department, we did through the Town and Country Planning Association and in many other ways suggest to him the need for the recruitment of planners. We suggested the need for bringing some of the planners out of the Armed Forces; it would not have made any difference to the war effort, but it would have made a big difference to the reconstruction of Great Britain after the war if we had had the people who are now planning not only planning themselves but training other planners. We must change our conception of planning personel, and I hope the Secretary of State for Scotland agrees with the Minister of Town and Country Planning, who in his Second Reading speech on the English Bill said that we must broaden out the whole conception.
That is fundamental. Planning is not first of all a question of zoning, nor a question of drawing lines on a drawing board. It is not a question of drawing perspectives, but is a matter of social arrangement, so that one social amenity is placed in a convenient relation to another. As the hon. Member for Kilmarnock said in his maiden speech, it starts with the family and the family in its home surrounded by these social amenities, so that it may easily and conveniently stretch out to all the activities of the community. Planning does affect every member of the community It affects the housewife in her shopping, the family in religious worship, the family in regard to schooling, the worker in regard to his factory or office: it affects every- 1757 body in relation to the countryside and the need for an unspoilt countryside devoted equally to recreation and agriculture.
It is not, as the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead said, a question of planning the lives of the people. I wonder that he had the audacity to make such a remark and attribute it to me in particular and to my party in general. I could have done with a bit of planning when I was a child. I grew up in a Lanarkshire industrial area, and there was one thing and one thing only that saved me. I believe it saved tens of thousands of Lanarkshire children. It was that, in spite of the outrages that the right hon. and learned Gentleman's friends had perpetrated in Lanarkshire over a hundred years, beauty kept breaking through. One could leave Wishaw—with its huddled slums with 80 per cent. of the population living in a single apartment in houses without a water supply, without indoor sanitation, without gas and electricity, without any amenity worthy of the name—and walk into the country. You passed the ironworks and the little village of Overtoun, with houses which ought to have been preserved in a museum as a monument to the party opposite, houses so degenerate that they would not be suitable for keeping pigs and horses. You could leave all that behind, and walk down the hill to Garrion Bridge—which will be remembered in the history of Scottish Socialism—and see the great field where the Picts and Scots fought their last great battle. You could then go into Clydeside, and see the river stretching like the Seine between Rouen and Les Andelys, beautiful with great country houses—a great stretch planned by a man of great imaginative genius—Sir Walter Scott—who chose Milton Lockhart as a residence for his son-in-law. The right hon. and gallant Member for Scottish Universities (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) knows that area as well as I do, and he knows what a contrast there is between the town and the country in Lanarkshire.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hubert Beaumont)
Fortunately that is not a question which I have to answer.
§ Mr. McAllister
It is a surprising suggestion that private enterprise was responsible for the development of the whole county of Lanark.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
The hon. Member was speaking of the orchard country on the Clydeside, which is a monument to the small owner who created that beautiful and smiling valley.
§ Mr. McAllister
It gets more and more interesting. The Clyde valley stretches for a very long distance. One used to hear of the "Clydeside M.P.s," but they represented the Clyde where it was dirtiest; while the hon. Member opposite represented those parts which were the cleanest, brightest and most beautiful. All this was natural beauty, but if the right hon. and gallant Gentleman claims that private enterprise took a part in it, we must go back a long time, because the people who brought the first orchards to the Clydeside were the Romans.
Mr. McKie (Galloway)
§ Mr. McAllister
You can still find relics of the Roman civilisation in Clydeside. They planted the first fruit trees, and if the hon. Member visits Craignethin Priory he can see them for himself. There is this contrast between town and country. There is the contrast between Coatbridge, Motherwell and Cambuslang and the two oldest towns in Lanarkshire. There is Rutherglen, the oldest Royal Burgh in Scotland, with a dignified High Street and some very pleasant architecture, and the county town [...]Lanark, which is a charming town.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
When the hon. Member talks about Rutherglen as an ancient town, and then of Lanark as a charming county town, he is issuing provocation which makes it difficult to remain silent.
§ Mr. McAllister
I may be provocative, but not so provocative as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. Charming as a Brain's Trust discussion with him might be, I prefer to indulge in that on a more suitable occasion. I do not denounce private enterprise and the great achievements of private enterprise in its planning. When there was nothing else 1759 but private enterprise, it would be a poor thing if it did not here and there achieve something of value. A great monument to private enterprise is the town of Helensburgh, which was perhaps the first satellite town. It was the product of benevolent landlordism and the genius who invented "The Comet," and who became its first Provost. I would not destroy the, things which private enterprise has produced, but rather preserve and develop them. It is because of what we have seen over the last 50 years what private enterprise can do, a more rapacious and more vulgar kind of private enterprise, that we wish to see efficient and effective control of our land and buildings. Why the National Trust, if not to salve something from the wreck? It was not Socialism that was responsible for the rash of red bungalows around Edinburgh. We have seen Edinburgh under Tory private enterprise, both nationally and locally, go down in stature from its place among the great cities of the world to the level of something more like a slut and a slattern. We want to see the cities reduced in density of population and industry so that they may be spacious. We want to see them girdled with a wall of green and inviolate.
The right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead raised the question of the 1939 values. He should have read what the Chancellor of the Exchequer had to say. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was quite explicit. He said the War Damage Commission had been asked to look into the whole question of escalation value, and that he would try to say something further on the subject while the Bill was in the Committee stage. When the right hon. and learned Gentleman challenged the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Bill with regard to the Uthwatt Report, he did less than justice to his brief. The Uthwatt Report said, with the utmost clarity, that there was no claim whatever to compensation under the common law of England. That was the position taken up in the English Bill. It is the position not only in law, as we on this side of the House see it, but it is the position in morality as well.
If there is any criticism to be made of the Bill at all it is that £300 million is far too much to pay to the landlords who have robbed the people for so many genera- 1760 tions. We are prepared to be reasonable with railway shareholders, the shareholders of the Bank of England, and electricity companies and the like, but when we come to the land we come to something of a different quality and character. We have always contested the right of Members opposite to claim that the land is something that ever could really be in private hands, in private ownership. When we see how, at every stage, landlords have attempted to rob the community—I see that the hon. and gallant Member for Perth (Colonel Gomme-Duncan) is laughing. How many votes did his party lose at the last election because the Duke of Argyll attempted at that very moment to rob the town of Campbeltown? That was something that private enterprise did not plan. There was a little stream running through Campbelltown, and that little burgh, with a low rateable value, wanted to build a dam in order to provide a better water supply for the people. Along came the Duke of Argyll and said, "Not unless you pay me £17,000." How can the hon. and gallant Member defend that?
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan (Perth and Kinross, Perth)
I am not attempting to defend anything wrong, but I object to the hon. Gentleman complaining about one thing which has been done wrong, and not referring to the hundreds of things which have been done right.
§ Commander Galbraith (Glasgow, Pollok)
Is the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister) stating the whole facts? I was astounded when I saw the claim myself, but are the facts as he has just stated? Was not a waterworks developed by the Duke of Argyll, and was it not to be taken Over by the burgh?
§ Mr. McAllister
I should hate to do an injustice, even to the Duke of Argyll, but I must confess that I have no further information beyond what was published in the Press at the time of the last Election. It was not published in the Socialist Press, but in the Opposition Press, and I have no reason to doubt their veracity.
It has been the same all through history. Whenever a town wanted to improve the quality of its services to the community a landlord has stepped in and held the community to ransom. This Bill puts an end to that, and the Government in their generosity are prepared to pay 1761 a price of £300 million in order to end it Members opposite ought to consider them selves very lucky, because compensation and betterment has arisen out of the nature of the case. This Bill deals with town and country planning, and compensation and betterment provisions have been in every Planning Bill since 1909. If we had approached the land question from a different point of view we should have arrived at a different solution, which would not have cost the people of the country so much. However, we believe that this Bill will enormously improve the lives of the people in Scotland. It will bring new beauty into our towns, and a new future to our countryside, and in that spirit I commend it to the House.
§ 6.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Snadden (Perth and Kinross, Western)
I do not intend to follow the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister) in all his arguments. We realise that he has great knowledge of planning, and that he has said some things about landlords which we have heard before. I do not wish to take up that point, but I am interested in the land, and I think I may be able to show that this Bill, so far as I see it, does not affect the landlord as such very much. I am talking in the terms of the rural areas which will be acquired, and, here, the Bill affects a different person altogether, the owner-occupier of the small farm. This Bill is vitally important, not only from the point of view of urban expansion and development, but also from the point of view of agricultural land utilisation, and the future of agricultural policy as well.
I am sure that the Lord Advocate will agree that it is necessary that whatever is planned the Bill should take into account agricultural interests. We want to make sure that they will be properly considered, that every endeavour will be made to mitigate agricultural damage on the one hand, and to avoid doing any injustice to individuals on the other while, at the same time, recognising the urgent claims of urban expansion and development. That seems to me to be the problem. Scotland has a comparatively small area of arable land. There are only about 4£ million acres of arable land in the whole of Scotland, out of a land surface of 19 million acres. But what we have is of a very high quality. Our farms especially, in the east of Scotland, are 1762 probably better tanned than those in any other country in the world. It is obviously our duty to conserve the best of our land, to retain our good dairy units close to urban centres and to preserve the economic unit. It is far better to take over a whole farm on the edge of a town than to take a part and leave the rest in an uneconomic state. Moreover, from the point of view of food production we must be careful with what we do with market gardens.
There is little doubt that the majority of the land to be affected by the Bill will be agricultural land. There is also little doubt that the majority of farmers who will be affected will be those who own their own farms, which on the average are not large. In the majority of cases, they will have no surplus land beyond what they need for their economic requirements. With the merits of the planning schemes envisaged by the Bill these people are not particularly concerned, but with practically no exception every acre of land that will be taken for industrial sites, playing fields, community centres, schools, etc., will come from agricultural land. It will be taken from the farmer by compulsion. I am not opposed to the principle of planning, because I believe that you cannot get the best utilisation of agricultural land without planning. But to secure the best results we must have complete co-operation between planning authorities and the agricultural industry. Moreover we must retain the confidence of the agricultural industry. Experience has, unfortunately, taught us in the past that in an industrial community rural interests are apt to become submerged.
When I first saw the Bill, knowing that I probably would not understand its difficult Clauses, I looked for something that would say, "Here is a Clause which will safeguard the agricultural interests of Scotland." I did not find it. The Secretary of State for Scotland has recently set up his new regional area agricultural committees, and is now about to set up, I have no doubt, his local advisory committees. Why should not these bodies take part in what is to be done under this Bill? I find nothing in the Bill which lays any obligation upon the planning authority to consult its regional area agricultural committee; nor do I find anything in the Bill which makes any provision for the county agricultural executive 1763 committees to make representations to the Secretary of State for Scotland if they disagree with the planning authority. I think that that is a very bad thing. It suggests to me that food production and proper land utilisation are of secondary importance, and the result will be that the best land, which is always the cheapest service land, will, probably, in the majority of cases, be taken. I suggest to the Lord Advocate that he should look at this point again, if he wishes to retain the confidence of our greatest industry—and it is our greatest industry. I know the Department of Agriculture pretty well. They have a very good technical staff, ably led by Mr. Manson; but a far wider organisation is needed under this Bill than any technical staff of the Department of Agriculture in Edinburgh is capable of managing, and I regard the absence of any such provision, from the agricultural point of view, with considerable misgiving. I have said the greater part of the land which will be taken over and designated will be agricultural land, and I want to consider that from the point of view of the individual.
What is to happen to the people who farm that land when they suffer from compulsory acquisition? Most of the farmers will be owner-occupiers, but some of them will be tenant farmers. What happens to the tenant farmer? Tomorrow, in Committee upstairs, we shall be examining a very important Bill—the Agriculture Bill, perhaps the most important Agriculture Bill ever to go through the House of Commons. In Clause 30 of that Measure an attempt is made to give the tenant farmer complete security of tenure by making a notice to quit served on a tenant farmer by a landlord invalid, unless with the permission of the Minister. This Bi1l cancels out Clause 30 of the Agriculture Bill. Under this Bill, if land is designated for compulsory purchase, there can be no such thing as security of tenure, and even if it is not so designated, there is no guarantee that it will not he designated later, because these plans can be amended, and, in any case, must be revised, every five years. Therefore, the threat of speedy dispossession will always be there for the tenant farmer, and the terms of Clause 30 of the Agriculture Bill become a mockery. I wonder if the right hon. Gentleman has thought out that point?
1764 Further, on dispossession, compensation for disturbance would be paid by the wicked landlord under the Agricultural Holdings Act, but under this Bill I can find nothing—I may be wrong, and, if so, perhaps the Lord Advocate can tell me where it is—which tells me that if a tenant were dispossessed under a scheme of designation, he would receive compensation for disturbance under the Agricultural Holdings Act. I do not think that he receives anything from the State. and, if that is so, I suggest that that is an injustice. Even the wicked landlord, to whom reference has been made, is generous enough to pay compensation for disturbance under the Agricultural Holdings Act—but the State does not. But it is the owner-occupier who is to be the worst sufferer, and, in the majority of cases, he will be the person most likely to be affected by this Bill. What happens to the owner-occupier?
The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. W. Ross), in his maiden speech, referred to Ayrshire. It is not a county that I know very well, but I will take it as an example. It is a county of small towns and villages, and, therefore, a county likely to be vitally affected under this Bill. The majority of farmers affected will own their own farms around the urban areas. As things stand today, if that land is compulsorily acquired, under the 1945 Act, the owner-occupier will get in addition to the bare agricultural value of the land, full development value. Everyone knows that the existence of such development value has been in the past a large factor in determining the price paid by farmers for such land. In fact, this is insisted upon by the Government when assessing to Estate Duty, and, in addition to the full 1939 prices, there is a 60 per cent. ceiling supplement under the old Town and Country Planning Act. But, as I understand this Bill, the owner occupier—that is the small farmer owning his own land and working on it himself—gets only the bare agricultural value of the land at 31st March, 1939, not actually as it was then, but on the fictitious assumption that at that date it could only be used for agricultural purposes. In other words, the owner-occupier gets only the 1939 bare agricultural value to be assessed somehow—I do not know how—with the possibility of a supplement under the 60 per cent. arrangement. That seems to me to be a great injustice to the owner 1765 occupier, and something of which the Government should be thoroughly ashamed.
The price of land today is at least twice, if not three times, what it was in 1939. That is partly because of the world shortage of food, and partly because of the depreciation of the pound. There will be no possibility whatever of a farmer, who is affected under a designated order under this Bill, replacing his farm elsewhere out of his compensation. Further, at the present rate of interest, 2½ per cent., a farmer would require to get at least twice the agricultural value of his land in order to receive the same return for his money. While those who have most recently purchased their farms, and who put agriculture and not development value first, will suffer a most serious financial loss, they are now to be penalised for resisting the temptation of development. Finally, as the planning authority may, under this Bill, designate land subject to compulsory purchase to meet their presumed needs for 10 years ahead, it seems almost certain that because of that, they will tend to exaggerate the amount of land they need. We shall then find that a large area around each centre of population, embracing possibly whole agricultural units, will be designated under this Bill. It does not take much imagination to see what that will mean. It will mean complete sterilisation. There will be no possibility of finding a purchaser for such land and the result will be that farmers who bought their holdings recently at present-day prices will find them unsaleable, and no longer security for credit, even though compulsory purchase should never materialise. That seems to me to be a very serious position.
We have heard a great deal this afternoon about planning, and all the things that are to be done in the way of beautifying our towns and countryside, but we have to think of these people, the small farmers and the owner-occupiers, whose entire savings have gone into these places. They will have half, or at any rate a large portion, taken away from them. If it is true to say, as I think it is, that the acceptance, under the 1945 Act, of the basis of 1939 combined development and feu value was harsh as against the comparative 1947 prices, which I think it was—the farmers were far too busy in r945 to think about the 1945 Act—then 1766 the basis in this Bill of a purely fictitious 1939 agricultural value is sheer confiscation. I have no sympathy with the land speculator, but this Bill denies a fair price to the landowner, the owner-occupier and the tenant farmer alike, and perhaps more important than the personal loss of the individual, it fails to safeguard agricultural interests in the proper utilisation of agricultural land. The agricultural industry has no guarantee in this Bill that agricultural interests will be properly considered and the views of those who know most about them taken into account. As I have pointed out, the Bill also succeeds in cancelling out Clause 30 of the important agricultural Bill, now in Committee, which gives security of tenure to the tenant farmer. Therefore, it will shake the confidence of all people who live on the land and are engaged in agriculture. For these reasons, I feel that, although I accept the principle of planning, I must support the Amendment, because of the injustice done to these people and the failure to look into the points I have mentioned in regard to agricultural interests in general.
§ 6.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Rankin (Glasgow, Tradeston)
I am sure the hon. Member for West Perth (Mr. Snadden) will forgive me if I do not follow him closely on the line of argument which he developed, but I wish to congratulate him on making clear—much clearer than did the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid)—that he is in favour of planning. I submit that is the central point which we ought to face tonight. I always listen to the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead with appreciation, but I feel that today he lowered—and I do not use the word "lowered" in a personal way —the tone I would have liked to have seen inspiring this Debate. We are seeking to plan the city of tomorrow. We can view that city as a thing of stone or bricks or steel, or we can view it for what it really is, a living thing, reflecting the character and the characteristics of other living things. I subscribe in that to the attitude taken by my hon. Friend the Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister). Although he did not use the words, he regarded the city in the light in which I regard it, as an organism. Either it develops and flowers, or it decays.
Prior to the eighteenth century—we have had a little reference to history tonight and I hope I shall be forgiven if I 1767 make a further reference on different lines —it could be said that the city had a definite entity, it had a form of expression, and that form was conditioned by two things, first, social outlook of the times, and, secondly, the technical knowledge which was available. When the life of the city was focused on the castle or the cathedral, it reflected the attitude of its citizens to the religious and social beliefs of the time. With the merchant adventurers, the town no longer grew up round the castle or the cathedral; it grew up round the market place. With the advent of the steam engine, the opportunity for economic expansion was ripe, and we entered on a mad, chaotic scramble for private gain. Our cities still carry the reflection of that chaos. Just as they had reflected the attitude of the times when the castle or the cathedral dominated them, they reflected that mad scramble for profit. They lost the form which had characterised them in the days of the barons and the Church. The period of the Industrial Revolution, however, was not entirely formless so far as our towns are concerned. To that period belong some of our finest cities and also some of our most squalid slums. The amenities did not reach the poor. The philosophy of the rich did not embrace a decent life for the poor. The factory and the mine became mixed up with the home. Man was bound in every sense to the machine at which he toiled.
The city was chaotic, but it was still largely a reflex of the life of the age, for that was chaotic, too. That is the problem which still faces us today and it is a problem towards whose solution my right hon. Friend has presented this Bill today. In doing so he seeks to give order and a form to the city, not for the few but for all, because now we are living in the age of the common man and the people are supreme. Just as the city of old reflected the beliefs and the aspirations of the barons, the ecclesiastics or the merchant princes, so must the city of tomorrow reflect the social outlook of the people. This Bill seeks to realise that ideal, and because of that I welcome it very much indeed.
I ask hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, Can anyone doubt that if we had had a century ago the powers outlined in this Bill our towns and indeed 1768 our villages would have been much more attractive places in which to live than they are today? Examples of ill-considered building development, promoted only by the desire for profit, face us wherever we go. The city of Edinburgh set a good example during the 18th and part of the 19th centuries of what could be done by planning a new town, but interest appeared to wane and ordered planning ceased altogether. It could have continued, and it would have continued if we had had in being an enlightened Parliament and an interested public. In recent years—and this is remarkable in view of the immediate housing needs of the people—the public have been very interested in planning. Exhibitions run by local planning authorities, including the Corporation of Glasgow, have stimulated the public's imagination and have given them a much better appreciation of the aims and objects of planning. This is a most desirable development, as planning is designed to serve the people and their needs, and without public participation and co-operation no system of planning could fulfil its purpose. I hope that my right hon. Friend will make it clear that local authorities will be urged to take the public into their confidence, and enlist their help in the preparation of local plans.
Local authorities will welcome this Bill for three major reasons. I have taken the opportunity of trying to consult with those who will be affected by the provisions of this Bill, and so far I have found that everyone who is going to be connected with planning, as outlined in the Bill, welcomes it on those three grounds, to which I want to direct the attention of the House.
Firstly, the Bill will solve, as my right hon. Friend indicated, the problem of development values in land. I think it will be agreed that this fact more than any other has prevented local authorities from exercising the powers conferred upon them, as they have found it quite beyond their resources to meet the heavy burden of compensation payable to persons who were refused permission to develop land. The State will now take over development values in land, and local authorities will be able to plan boldly for the development of their areas on the best possible lines. I was interested to hear from the 1769 hon. Member for West Perth (Mr. Snadden) that the landlords are not to be affected by the operation of this Bill. I may say frankly that that was news to me and also frankly that I cannot understand it. Every local planning authority and building authority in the country has found that the landlord has been the chief stumbling block to progressive housing development and planning, and if there is any trouble with regard to the compensation terms that have been offered, of £300 million, I have here a little book written by one who formerly adorned the office of Secretary of State for Scotland in this House, Mr. Thomas Johnston. Its title is "Our Noble Families," and if one fraction of what is contained in this book is true, then £300 million is three hundred times too much, as compensation for the interests which are affected under the Bill.
Secondly, the Bill will provide new Exchequer grants to local planning authorities to assist them in purchasing and acquiring land for the execution of their plans. This will remove the main obstacle to the replanning on desirable lines, of the obsolescent areas and the areas of bad layout, a problem of particular interest to me as a Member for a Glasgow Division. The Exchequer assistance provided by the Town and Country Planning Act, 1945, in connection with the redevelopment of war damaged areas did not go very far to meet Scotland's problem as the main problem there—and this was instanced by the Secretary of State when he spoke—is not war damaged areas but the slum and congested areas. For the first time, local authorities will be able to tackle the tidying up of the central built-up areas and this, incidentally, will help to limit that sprawl from the circum ference of our great cities, which is eating up good agriculture land at the present moment.
Thirdly, the Bill will provide a new and more flexible system of planning which is better adapted to modern conditions than the system under the existing Acts, and one which is capable of keeping abreast of the times. The local authorities particularly, will welcome the wider powers to be conferred upon them by the Bill to enable them to carry out themselves all sorts of development necessary for the wellbeing of their particular areas. The Bill provides also for a considerable measure of control over the operations of the local planning authorities, and while 1770 I recognise that such control is necessary I hope that my right hon. Friend will be able to assure the House tonight that interference by the central authority with the planning arrangements of the local authorities will be as sparing as possible.
The provisions of the Bill permitting the exercise of more effective control over outdoor advertisements, to which my right hon. Friend referred, will, I think, be generally approved. We have seen far too much of the countryside, and parts of our cities too, spoiled by ugly advertisements. We must aim not at suppressing legitimate advertising, but at controlling it and preventing the disfigurement of city areas, and the desecration of the countryside. It is assumed today—quite wrongly, I think—that under the local Acts the local authorities have power to control the advertiser within their areas. The problem that faces the local authority today is that under those Acts, which are weak, although the public general Act is still weaker, there is no power whatever to control advertising on any structure which does not exceed 12 feet in height, with the result that an advertiser could desecrate an entire city, and the local authority would be completely helpless. Again, it is found in practice that where the local authority refuse consent to an advertiser, advertising a particular commodity, appeal is made to the sheriff in every single case.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Buchanan)
§ Mr. Rankin
That is my information, but since my hon. Friend dissents, I will qualify the statement by saying that appeal is made in almost every case. The sheriff, again in practically every case, takes the view that this is a legitimate commercial enterprise and refuses to homologate the action of the local authority. Therefore, under the working of the local Acts we have the authority completely helpless and the advertiser can do almost anything he chooses within our cities, and also in the countryside. I am glad to hear that this position is to be tightened up and that the local authority are to have powers through the procedure of Order in Council, to see that advertising shall not be allowed to desecrate the city in the new town as it does in the old, and also that they are to be fortified 1771 by the knowledge that appeal will not be to the sheriff but to a central planning authority.
As I said at the beginning of my speech, I want to welcome the Bill. We are planning the creation of a new town which, as I see it, will revolve round the individual and the home. From that centre, there will proceed one path which will carry the individual to work, whether at the factory, the administrative office or the shop. Another path will carry him to the centres of recreation and mental refreshment. A third will take him to the school, and to the home of culture and religion. The fourth will carry him—in cases which I hope will seldom arise—to the places which will deal with the health of the inhabitants of our new towns. That is the new town as I visualise it—the centre with the paths leading to the places which are necessary to build up life, and all of them integrating themselves into a way of living, which will be both peaceful and happy for those who are to be the citizens of the future.
§ 7.18 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot (Scottish Universities)
The Debate has followed a rather strange course, for those who have talked about the Bill have been accused from the other side of not talking about planning, but similarly it might be said that those who have discussed planning, have not talked about the Bill. The subject under discussion is not whether we should have great, new, beautiful towns in Scotland. The subject is whether this Bill will help to produce great, new, beautiful towns in Scotland, and there is a certain unreality in the arguments brought forward on the ground that everything that has been done before has not produced great, new, beautiful towns in Scotland but that everything that is going to be done after the passage of this Bill will produce great, new, beautiful towns in Scotland.
Frankly, these arguments are not borne out by facts and they are not borne out by the attitude of the representatives of Scotland to the discussion this evening. Looking around, one has a certain sense of unreality. If we were at this moment discussing some great Measure which was to transform the public life of Scotland or even to carry through some great Measure of expropriation against the landlords, it may well be that the Bill would excite 1772 great popular passion outside, and would fill the benches inside the House with a surging mass of Scottish and other hon. Members. But, Sir, how different is the picture which we see, on looking around. The people of Scotland at the moment have far more immediate and terrible anxieties than the subjects which we are discussing in this rather academic fashion under the Bill. There are 91,000 further unemployed in Scotland, shortages of coal and electricity, and the fear of our industrial future. Those are the subjects which are convulsing the people of Scotland, subjects of anxiety, and indeed of passion; not the subject of whether this particular procedure for land acquisition will be more or less speedy under the Bill than under the Act of 1944. It is for that reason that we have moved an Amendment saying that the Bill makes impossible demands upon the resources of planning authorities in Scotland.
Indeed, surely that is true. At the present moment, heavy loads are being heaped upon the public authorities of Scotland, and to add this further load at this time is surely gratuitous. It is a load which we know from the facts of experience cannot be carried to any practical end in the near future. The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland is at this moment piloting through the Scottish Grand Committee a vast Bill, the National Health Services (Scotland) Bill. Upon its heels comes the new Agriculture Bill. Tomorrow, we are to discuss the development of electricity in Scotland. All these are Measures which closely touch the local authorities in their immediate administrative responsibilities, legislative and statutory responsibilities. What is more, there is being added to the local authorities at the present moment responsibility for heating and lighting, and a great responsibility in the present industrial crisis. At this time, is it suggested that one of the most urgent things that local authorities in Scotland can possibly do is to study this Debate upon the procedure of land acquisition and to draw up, within the next three years, a plan on which is located every shop and factory from the Pentland Firth to the. Cheviot Hills?
It is an unreal Bill. That is our first accusation against it. That is not to say that planning itself is either a bad object or an object which we on this side of the 1773 House have not as keenly at heart as hon. Members opposite and one in which we have not taken very great interest. The hon. Member for Rutherglen Mr. McAllister) gently twitted my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead (Mr. Reid) with having given too much attention to the Bill. That is a novel accusation against the Opposition by a supporter of the Government. Generally, we are apt to hear only the complaint that not enough attention has been given.
§ Mr. McAllister
I did not accuse the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Mr Reid) of giving too much attention to the Bill. The point was rather that the object of a Second Reading is not merely to examine the Bill but to discuss the objects of the Bill, and that the right hon. and learned Member did not get within miles of doing so. The right hon. and gallant Member for the Scottish Universities (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) is making exactly the same mistake. He talked about great, big, beautiful, new towns. Nobody on this side wants great, big, beautiful, new towns. We want small, beautiful, new towns and we want to recreate our big, old, bad towns.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
Perhaps we shall come to an agreement with the hon. Member for Rutherglen by omitting the word "great" to describe his beautiful new towns. Then it should be very easy to come to an agreement with him. He claims that my right hon. and learned Friend did not give enough attention to the wider objects of the Bill, but spent too much time upon an analysis of it. Let me say that the purpose of framing a Statute is to bring a matter down within the Clauses of a Bill. I hope to point out later that when the hon. Member for Rutherglen came to dealing with the Clauses of the Bill, he displayed a singular example of inverted advocacy. Speaking upon those Clauses which are meant to rebuild, as he said, our great, big, old, ugly towns I hope I am not doing him an injustice, for Heaven knows such rebuilding is badly needed—I was not sure whether I was hearing a speech for the Bill or against it. Although he was strongly in favour of the object, as far as those objects were concerned, he delivered, as far as the machinery is concerned, a most damning indictment, as I hope to show.
1774 That is the first point. The objects of planning, and indeed the work of planning, have in the past been a concern of both sides of the House. The hon. Member for Rutherglen made a real Second Reading speech in favour of the Bill as against the semi-précis of the White Paper which was delivered to us with admirable conviction by the Secretary of State for Scotland. He brought forward a case that many commendable things have been done in the past. I was glad to hear his tribute. He said they had been done not merely to the more classic and famous cities and burghs of Scotland such as the beautiful burgh of St. Andrews or the noble city of Edinburgh, but to our old, dear, dirty, smoky city of Glasgow. As he said, it contains some of the most famous examples of modern or quasi-modern architecture which have ever been built in the United Kingdom. The works of "Greek" Thompson are famous throughout Europe, but not in this country, because a prophet has no honour in his own country. People come from great distances to see his works in Glasgow. My own regret is that the opportunity of building the university was not given to our native architect, "Greek" Thompson, instead of being handed over to some machine made plans which were fashionable at the time.
The first point that we would make islet me reiterate—that at the present time to ask the local authorities to do what they are supposed to do under the Bill is to put upon them a task which will, at the best, be scamped and, at the worst, ignored. We are not here abolishing landlords. We are bringing into existence a new landlord, a new synthetic landlord. The new landlord, like all landlords, begins by being very vague about all the good things he is going to do and by being very definite indeed upon all the restrictive covenants which he desires to make perfectly safe and sure about. The powers of the Central Land Board are very definite indeed. The development rights which are to be bought up are merely transferred—they are a very great weight —to other shoulders, those of the people who are going to accept responsibility under the Bill, be they landlords or be they private individuals.
The provisions of the Bill are in some cases not only incredibly exacting but one would almost say idiotic. Can it be believed that it is laid down in the Third 1775 Schedule to the Bill that anyone who enlarges an agricultural labourer's cottage by to per cent. shall pay a fine for doing so, but if they enlarge a pigsty, they shall not pay for doing so? Is that really the way to improve conditions? Is this getting rid of landlordism? Does this justify the eloquent denunciation of landlordism and the eloquent support of the Bill which were made by the hon. Member for Tradeston (Mr. Rankin) and the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. William Ross)? He quoted the poet Burns. Where was the poet Burns born? He was born in a house which, for floor area, compares very favourably with the houses now being put up under the local authorities and which was certainly put up in a very much shorter time. As far as the accommodation goes, it accommodated the greatest genius that Scotland has produced. Therefore, on one or two counts, it might be said that it had considerable advantages over the housing of the present time. But it had another advantage. The father of the poet Burns was not asked by a Central Land Board to pay a heavy charge for having put this cottage up, and, under the Third Schedule to the Bill, that is what he would have to do today.
The Central Land Board comes along and says, "This is a piece of land. You propose to develop it for building. That is a very serious thing and you must pay a heavy fine called a development charge." But it is a central authority which will have no power to remit that charge and will be subject to the Public Accounts Committee and the Comptroller and Auditor-General, if it goes back one jot or tittle on the scale of charges laid down in Whitehall, a series of interlocking and interdigitating regulations and sub-regulations which are drawn up to govern these things. All one can say about the poet's house is that it would be very interesting to consider how many forms the poet's father would have had to fill up, how many permits he would have had to get and how many formalities he would have had to go through before permission to proceed was refused by the competent authorities—
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
He never wrote any accusations against his landlord, though he was a man with a very vigorous 1776 tongue and a very vigorous pen and he wrote accusations against many things, including the eminent institution in which an hon. Member opposite studied. What hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have to show is that the new landlord will be better than the old landlord, and that the new authority will be better than the old authority. I have already shown that one of the points in regard to the new landlord is that under the Third Schedule, the classes of development excepted from payment of development charges are the rebuilding of a building as long as the new building is not more than one-tenth bigger than the old; the enlargement of a building, as long as the new building is not more than one-tenth larger than the old, while in the case of a person occupying a house, he may occupy a larger piece of the house on condition that the piece he occupies is not one-tenth larger than the piece he previously occupied. I am not sure whether our eminent House will not come under a development charge, when it proceeds to occupy the new building at the end of the Lobby. If it is registered merely as debating accommodation, it is certainly more than one-tenth larger than the non-existent Chamber and the present Chamber taken together, If it is taken as part of the general content of the Palace, in which we are now sitting, it would probably get away with it, but this is the sort of legal problem which is being brought forward as a serious contribution to improving the condition of the people of Scotland.
The hon. Member for Rutherglen stated that he was in favour of this Bill. Then he began to attack it most fiercely and vehemently. What did he say? He said in relation to the argument in which my right hon. and learned Friend referred to the one great subject of today, the redevelopment of the industrial area of Scotland, and more particularly the redevelopment of the industrial areas of the West, and of the Clyde valley, and in particular the redevelopment of the town of East Kilbride, that it was not a conflict between two sets of Socialists but between two planning authorities. It is not even between two planning authorities, but between the great noble Committee with its secretary, Sir Patrick Abercrombie, who brought forward a splendid plan for the redevelopment of that area, and on the other side the town engineer of the city of Glasgow. But he 1777 was backed up by the Corporation of Glasgow, and the Corporation of Glasgow under this Bill is the body to which the Secretary of State is finally to hand over all these great powers. What is the planning authority?Subject to the provision of this Section, the local planning authority for the purposes of this Act shall be…in the case of a large burgh, the town council.The town council of Glasgow. That is the body to which the hon. Member for Rutherglen proceeded to devote a considerable portion of his speech and a good deal of castigation—this over-built city which desires further to add to its overbuilding and congestion, to increase the already enormous concentration of human beings upon it, and much more than all these things dares to invade the green belt which ought to belong to the city of Rutherglen This causes him to designate the actions of the city of Glasgow, the second city of the Empire and the largest city by far in Scotland, as a piece of impertinence. We are asked to convey under this Bill these great powers to a set of authorities of whom the greatest, in the argument of the hon. Member for Rutherglen, is about to commit a thing which is not merely a crime but an impertinence. It does not stop there. The other great city of Scotland immediately fell under his castigation—
§ Mr. McAllister
Before the right hon. and gallant Gentleman goes on, may I deal with that point? First of all, the Bill does what he says. Secondly, it does something other than he says—it confers on the Secretary of State for Scotland the power to combine two planning authorities or more than two planning authorities if he so desires, and if that is deemed reasonable and necessary. May I remind the right hon. and gallant Gentleman—
§ Mr. Speaker
It is rather irregular on a Second Reading to have in speeches interruptions which are not really interruptions but arguments.
§ Mr. McAllister
On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. When I was speaking the right hon. and gallant Gentleman interrupted me many times. I was interrupting at a little more length because I wanted to interrupt only once.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
Far be it from me to hesitate to give way to the hon. Member. I am only too pleased to do so on 1778 any occasion, as he courteously did to me, and all the more so when he provides me, in his interruption, with the most admirable reinforcement of the argument I am attempting to lay before the House. When he says the Secretary of State for Scotland has power to combine two authorities, I am reminded of the ancient Roman law by which a parricide was cast into the sea in a sack containing a cat, a dog and a monkey. Believe me, the Secretary of State, combining some of the Scottish local authorities, would certainly be producing a concatenation of opposing forces compared with which the parricide's cat, dog and monkey would be a curate's afternoon tea party. The Secretary of State has greater power—the power to override and rewrite these schemes, but the hon. Member for Rutherglen made no great point of that. When he attacked the city of Glasgow —I will not dilate on that—and then the city of Edinburgh, he attacked two of the greatest local authorities in Scotland. He put forward a very poor argument to show why we should under this Bill entrust these very great powers to those authorities and further enjoin them to lay down a scheme, to be finished within three years, with the enormous detail set out in the Clauses and Schedule of this Bill.
§ Mr. McAllister
The right hon. Member for Cirencester (Mr. W. S. Morrison) overruled the City of London; is there any reason why a Socialist Secretary of State should not overrule a Socialist town council, or a Tory town council for that matter?
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
I think the hon. Member for Rutherglen, not for the first time, does not go to the end of the story. He said that the right hon. Member for Cirencester overruled the City of London. He did not. He sent the City of London plan back to the City of London for further consideration—a right and proper thing to do—but I can assure him, as one who has been Secretary of State for Scotland, that any Secretary of State sending back a scheme to the City of Glasgow for further consideration will find, on the whole, that it is rather less likely to he accepted because of having been sent back on the recommendation of the Secretary of State. I am well aware of the powers of the Secretary of State. All I say is that the powers here given to him to re-write the scheme are powers which, 1779 if exercised, will lead him into re-writing scheme after scheme throughout Scotland. Therefore, it is again "bottlenecking" the whole planning back on a single authority and on a single set of individuals, which is the second of our main contentions against this Bill.
Remember, as I said earlier, the Bill lays down with meticulous detail the things that are not to happen. Under the question of permission, it says that permission may be given to build and develop land, but that permission is not to be I granted until the development charge is settled; the person is not to go ahead until the development charge has been settled and agreed upon. If he does, he is liable not merely to pay the development charge; he may be brought before the courts and become subject to a fine which may be twice the size of the development charge. The provisions taken in this Bill to prevent people building are of the most vigorous and far-reaching kind, and if they have to "bottleneck" that to the Secretary of State for Scotland, I am certain that the last clause in our indictment of the Bill—that it will impede rather than advance the provision of housing works and amenities for the people of Scotland—is a thousand times proved.
The other point is that a great number of these powers exist already; the power for the acquisition of land exists already, the power for the speedy acquisition of land exists already. The hon. Member for Rutherglen asked how many votes the Tory Party lost because the Duke of Argyll had made a certain claim with regard to waterworks against the Borough of Campbeltown. I was interested to know how he got his votes, and now I know. I asked him what happened at the end of the story. He did not know, he had not troubled to find out; it was a good tale, a good stick to beat the dog with, it would get votes against the Tories. Full power existed to deal with that. Under the powers that exist, the Borough of Campbeltown was under no compulsion either to refrain from going ahead with the work or to pay the compensation which the Duke of Argyll demanded. Nor did it. Under the powers passed by previous wicked, Tory, landlord Governments, it had power, and exercised the power to say "We shall go ahead. Requisition this land and send the case to arbitration. It 1780 will not be decided by the Duke of Argyll but by an impartial arbitrator." And composition was come to by the two parties, That was the end of the story; that was the end which the hon. Member for Rutherglen—
§ Mr. McAllister
Not at all. It was the hon. and gallant Member for Pollok (Commander Galbraith) who raised this question. Secondly, I did not ignore the end of the story. The end of the story was irrelevant. The landlord had attempted to get that money and so had hundreds of other landlords in similar circumstances.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
It is the first time I have heard that the end of a story is irrelevant, or indeed, that the verdict given is irrelevant. I can imagine a great murder case being brought forward, all the arguments made by the advocates on either side, the jury going out and, at that point, the hon. Member for Rutherglen walks out of the court. "What was the verdict?" he is asked. "Oh, it is irrelevant," he says.
§ Mr. McAllister
It was irrelevant to the General Election. The only fact before us at the General Election was the demand by the Duke of Argyll.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
It was irrelevant to the hon. Member for Rutherglen, whose desire at the General Election was to get as many votes as possible, but it was not irrelevant to the purpose either of the people of Campbeltown getting water or the justice of the case. The fact that the hon. Gentleman did not go so far as to ascertain the end of the story was for the simple reason, as it now appears, that he feared the end of the story might spoil a good electioneering song and naturally he did his best. Whenever I hear from him again an electioneering story, I will certainly inquire about the end of it because I, for one, and I think the electors of Rutherglen will not consider that the verdict to be given in a trial is irrelevant, or that the sum eventually decided upon—not under the Duke of Argyll's demands, but under the local powers of the burgh of Campbeltown—is irrelevant. Many men have asked me for money and not all of them have got it, and not any of them who had not any legal right could get money out of me by the mere fact of asking. That reminds me of the well known story of the man whose wife was always asking for money. "What does 1781 she do with the money?" asked his friend. "I do not know," he said, "I never give her any."
The present Bill is brought forward at a time when the local authorities of Scotland are loaded to cracking point. Secondly, it is brought forward under conditions which, as far as we can see, do little or nothing to abolish the evils which hon. Gentlemen and right hon. Gentlemen complain about. It substitutes one new authority for an old authority, but no argument is brought forward to show that the new authority will be so very much more farsighted and generous than the authorities which have gone before. From the provisions laid down in the Third Schedule to the Bill it looks as if the new authority will be as rapacious as the worst examples of the old authorities.
As I say, it seems to us that it doe, little or nothing to improve the conditions of the people of Scotland. I do not wish to go into one or two of the other points of that kind, but they should be referred to—the point of the 1939 compensation terms, for instance, which are befogged in the public mind by the use of the word "land." It is not 1939 compensation for the land which is important; it is 1939 compensation for buildings. When a lawyer looks at St. Paul's, he says, "What a beautiful piece of land." When you or I lock at St. Paul's we say, "What a noble piece of architecture," and using the term "land" in this sense befogs and muddles people. Anybody who is asked to replace at 1939 values is being asked to do the impossible, and those who are being asked to do that under this Bill cannot be fobbed off by suggestions that they should look at what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said he would do if he gave further consideration to a Bill which does not relate to Scotland at all. At this time, when the Secretary of State or the Lord Advocate comes along to close the argument on this Bill, he should be in a position to say what is the position as regards Scotland, and what is the answer to those who say "We cannot replace a house" or, as my hon. Friend the Member for West Perth (Mr Snadden) said, "We cannot replace a farm which we have bought and worked upon and which we are dispossessed out of at 1939 values." It is the Lord Advocate's business to speak to us on the Scottish Bill, and not to fob 1782 us off with some vague reference to what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, in regard to a totally different Bill on a totally different occasion.
For these reasons we have put down a reasoned Amendment, and we certainly intend to go to a Division upon it. It is not for any lack of our interest in planning, or of our desire to see the people of Scotland under better conditions in the future than they have been in the past. Undoubtedly cruel and harsh conditions exist in Scotland which all of us would wish to see removed and, as the hon. Member for Tradcston (Mr. Rankin) said, many of them arose in the most recent years during the industrial revolution; the great injection of coal, iron, power into the social life of Scotland led to many harsh and terrible things, and to many horrible abuses which it is desired on all sides of the House to rid Scotland of as speedily as possible. The onus is upon those who advocate a change of the law in the present proposals. I put it to them that they have totally failed to make out the case for these specific proposals they are bringing forward. We still await their justification before we believe that any hon. Member should vote for the Bill now before us.
§ 7.51 p.m.
§ Mr. Willis (Edinburgh, North)
It I understood the argument of the right hon. and gallant Member for the Scottish Universities (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot), apart from the long debate which took place across the Floor between him and my hon. Friend the Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister), it was that the local authorities were already very busy and could not get on with the job of planning. Secondly, it was that plaguing did not supply the people of Scotland with houses, or work, or amenities. But, that work is already being done. The Board of Trade are busy trying to get industries started in Scotland, not only in the development areas but in other areas. The Scottish Council are busy trying to attract industries to Scotland. My hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary for Scotland is busy trying to promote house building in Scotland. We have a large programme in front of us. Are we going to plan this, or to let it go ahead, and then, in 20 years' time, discover that once again we have made an awful mess of things?
1783 I am not so wholeheartedly in favour of this Bill as are some of my colleagues. I think at the best it is a good compromise and I would much rather have seen this Government introducing a Bill to nationalise the land, and not to pay £300 million to landowners for development rights, which they have not lifted a finger to create, but which have been created by the community. In return for this £300 million we get nothing except something intangible called "future development value." I am rather lukewarm about this Bill, but not for the same reasons as the right hon. and gallant Member for the Scottish Universities. I agree that we have to get down to the job of planning now. Edinburgh has been surrounded by some ugly suburban areas. A city with infinite possibilities of being beautifully developed, has in many areas been allowed to become a playground of the jerry builder. That is what has happened to what is probably one of the most beautiful cities in this country. During the last century we had a lesson of what takes place when planning is not comprehensive. I have the honour to represent the New Town of Edinburgh. It is frequently mentioned when we talk of planning. It is true that the planners created the well laid out streets, the squares, the crescents and gardens and the beautiful facades of Charlotte Square, but private enterprise also created the hideous slums that lie hidden there. Behind Princes Street lie some of the worst slums in the city of Edinburgh. That is what private enterprise has done and what it will do again, unless we take powers to stop it being done. It is no use saying that this will not create work; it is not intended to create work, but to plan it.
We are to recoup some of the £300 million, which we are paying as compensation for loss of development plans, by imposing a development charge. It seems to me that the extent to which we shall recoup it, will, in the first place, be dependent on the kind of development which is permitted and, secondly, of course, on the charge that is levied. I think there is something in the argument advanced from the other side of the House that the development charge itself is likely to hinder the amount of development. I ask my right hon. Friend what he is going to do in order that the hindrance will not be as 1784 great as I fear it might be in regard to private enterprise.
My second point is this. I listened to my right hon. Friend's speech with great care when he dealt with the question of making a survey. But looking at the Bill, I find in Clause 3 that the survey is to be made by the local authority, and after it has been made, they are to draw up development plans. But, like the hon. Member for Montrose Burghs (Mr. Maclay), feel that something has to be done prior to that survey being made. Local authorities must be given an indication of where industrial development is likely to take place. When, for instance, are the Lothians to be developed? What is the nature of the development? Where will it take place? When is the Forth Road Bridge to be built? These are important considerations which will determine the nature of the plan that the local authority prepares. I should imagine that it will be exceedingly difficult for a local authority to prepare a development plan, without being; given some idea by the Government as to what is contemplated. I would like my right hon. Friend to say something about that in his reply.
There is a small point on Clause 73 about which I would like some assurance. It concerns mineral rights. I am not a lawyer, and I find it difficult to interpret legal phraseology. That is why I put the question. As far as I understand the position regarding mineral rights, if a landowner has minerals under his land and can prove it to the satisfaction of the Land Board he will be entitled to compensation for loss of development values I do not know whether that is right.
§ Mr. Willis
He will be entitled. But he has to prove that loss will occur. Supposing a mining company comes along and wants to exploit the minerals, has it still to pay a mining royalty to the landowner, or does the compensation paid by the Government to the landowner finish once and for all the landowner's interest in the minerals? I have in mind certain areas in Scotland, such as Wanlockhead and Leadhills, where the incidence of mining royalties certainly had an effect when the mines closed down. If we are to pay compensation for the minerals we should have a guarantee that afterwards no further charge can be made by the landowners.
1785 I wish the Lord Advocate was present, as I would like to know what the effect of this Bill will be on the feu duty system in Scotland. There is a great deal of feeling about the payment of feus in large towns and I would like to see something done about that in this Bill. I do not know whether my interpretation is correct or not, but I want to know whether in future, increases arising out of the increase in the number of feus charged, which now go to the landowners, will in part go to the Land Board as a result of the development charge imposed by the Land Board. I think a number of hon. Members on this side of the House would like some information about that aspect of the Bill. These are the points to which I would like to have an answer. If I can have some assurances on the lines I have indicated, they will certainly make me much happier. But I shall support this Bill because I think it to be necessary. It is not as good a Bill as I would like to have seen, but it is probably the best we can expect in the circumstances. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, must, however, take steps to see that it will not be allowed to hinder development instead of encouraging it.
§ 8.1 p.m.
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan (Perth and Kinross, Perth)
The fact that this Bill is being considered on a Monday is indicative of the degree of importance which the Government attach to Scottish legislation. We have raised this point before, and I do not propose to take up any time on it beyond to register a further protest about the great inconvenience to Scottish Members and, far more important, the in convenience to their constituents. Further. this Bill is a glaring example of what is going on almost every day in the present Government, that is, the centralisation of Scottish affairs in London We have already had. from one or two speakers comments on the fact that the Central Land Board is being set up for the whole of the United Kingdom, and will he seated in or centred on London. We do not know yet, as the Secretary of State has told us the composition of the board, bow many members we are to have for Scotland, and to what degree Scots law and particularly the question of Scottish land tenure, will be safeguarded on that Board.
1786 I would like to ask the Secretary of State whether, when the Cabinet decided this point, he concurred with them, or whether perhaps, he was overruled? If he concurred, I can only say that it is yet another example of his failure to safeguard the interests of Scotland in the Cabinet as he should. I would like to have, an answer as to what was done in that respect because it is important that the Secretary of State should do all he can to support Scotland in these matters.
§ Mr. Westwood
I am not sure whether the hon. and gallant Member was present when I made my speech, but I made it perfectly clear that I concurred in this particular arrangement, and incidentally I gave reasons why.
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his statement. I was present when he stated that, and I only wished to have it confirmed. Unfortunately. it confirms my worst fears that the right hon. Gentleman has let Scotland down again, and I have no hesitation in saying so.
The hon. Member for North Edinburgh (Mr. Willis) was a little worried because the land was not to be nationalised under this Bill. I do not think that he or the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) need have any worries about that, because it is perfectly clear that that is the intention of the Government, not actually in this Bill hut in the next.
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
The hon. Gentleman may not have to wait long before he will be happier than he is tonight.
Combined with this question of the nationalisation of land is a great deal of foolish talk, to put it mildly, about the huge profits made by landowners in the development of land. There is no doubt that in a small minority of cases that has happened, but it has certainly not happened in the case of agricultural landowners There is surely no need for me to stress here the unprofitability of agricultural land as a whole It is important that the House should realise the wisdom of what my hon. Friend the Member for West Perth (Mr Snadden) said. The landlords concerned in these cases under this Bill will nearly all he, not the big landlords, whom hon. Members opposite are so anxious to get rid of, but small 1787 landowners. They are nearly all owner-occupiers who deserve the greatest measure of protection.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Can the hon. and gallant Member explain why it is that when there is no one in the House prepared to defend big landowners, they still remain?
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
I had hoped I had made it clear that I was trying to talk about agricultural landowners, and that I wished to defend the good ones. There is no question that the great majority of them are good. What is more, the great majority of landowners today would be quite prepared to assist in any reasonable scheme to prevent or stop speculation in land. I am sure that that is the case. This Bill neither does that, so far as I can see, nor, as the hon. Member for North Edinburgh said, does it speed up development. I do not think it is a planning Bill at all; it is merely a check on development. Therefore, it is a bad Bill.
What is its relation to other Measures which have recently been before the House? I would particularly mention the Agriculture Bill, which at the moment admittedly applies only to England, but its main provisions and principles will undoubtedly appear in the Scottish Bill. Under that Bill there are severe obligations upon landlords. They must improve and modernise their farms and buildings, under pain of dispossession. It is right that the landowner who does not look after his property properly should be liable to dispossession, but surely this Bill cuts off the supply of the necessary capital needed by those landowners if they are to carry out the improvements demanded of them under the other Bill. It seems to me that there is a direct contradiction between the two Bills. I would like to hear from the Lord Advocate how he relates the two Bills, one of which says, "You are to improve and modernise," while the other says, "You may not have the capital you require in order to carry out such modernisation."
We are again in the presence of watertight compartments as between Ministers. I think that Ministers do not understand the subject about which they propose to legislate. Otherwise the two Bills would have been related.
§ Mr. Westwood
Is not the hon. and gallant Member aware that the Minister responsible for agriculture in Scotland, and equally responsible for this particular Bill dealing with planning, is one and the same Minister?
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for reminding the House of that. But I was speaking about the English Bill, which gives a clear picture of what the Scottish Bill is to be. It should be perfectly clear at this stage that one Bill which says one thing, and another which says another should be properly co-related. That is not being done, as far as I can see.
I am not quite sure about this point: Who is actually empowered to levy what is really a new land tax, the development value tax, or whatever it is called? It looks to me as though the Central Land Board is entitled to do that. I wonder if that is satisfactory to this House, as guardians of the public, and whether these moneys will really be subject to proper Parliamentary control. I am not sure on that point, and I hope that the Lord Advocate will give us an assurance upon it, as it is important. This Bill greatly extends that vicious practice of legislation by Ministerial regulation. There are many duties, impositions and restrictions laid upon landlords under this Bill, which it is intended shall be set out in detail by Ministerial regulations. That is wrong in principle. If we are to impose something upon a man which is a matter of great principle, it should be set out in black and white in the Bill itself, and not be the subject of doubtful regulations at a future date. I hope that the Lord Advocate will assure us that some consideration will be given to altering the main part of this Measure in order to reduce the number of regulations to be made by the Minister. I have touched perhaps on certain points which are more properly suited to the Committee stage, and ask pardon for that. It must be remembered that some of the Scottish Members will have nothing whatever to do with this Bill when it goes to the Scottish Grand Committee because we shall be engaged on other Committees. That is the reason why I have trespassed a little and discussed what may be regarded as Committee points.
I am very much in favour of reasonable town and country planning and I am 1789 not opposed to this Bill merely because it intends to plan. Personally, I do not think that it does very much general planning. There are one or two points in connection with planning which ought to be mentioned. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister), to whose speech I listened with the greatest interest because he is genuinely interested and experienced in planning, raised many points of great importance. For instance, one was the question of advertisements which is a matter very dear to my heart. I am very glad that there are powers in this Measure to ensure that a proper co-ordinated policy regarding advertisements all over the country may be possible. There are places where advertisements can improve conditions. Railway bridges, hideous railway stations, and other places of that type can be improved but I object to being asked to swallow a certain kind of pill just as I approach Glenfarg, or some other beauty spot. I object to being told that a certain hotel will be found to be the best hotel in the world if only I will go a little further along the road to find it. I make a point of never going to that hotel or swallowing pills of that kind. I think this is a question in regard to which the Bill can be of the greatest use to everyone.
Then there is the question of the cities. The industrial revolution undoubtedly hit Scotland harder than it hit any other part of Great Britain. I think it is true to say that the industrial revolution was the greatest curse from which this country has suffered in regard to town and country planning. If we are to have a proper balance between town and country we must realise that the centres of our cities must be cleared. We must be prepared to build up the centres of our cities, if necessary upwards without spreading them outwards. These islands are very limited and every day it becomes more obvious that we must have more and more land for the growing of our food. I hope that the spreading outwards of our cities will not be thought to be the only solution. That would merely increase the danger of too much urbanisation. The question of clearing the centres of cities and redesigning them should not be for gotten.
I heartily support this Amendment, which expresses what I have been trying to say in a very much better way than 1790 I have been able to say it. I do not want hon. Members to think that in supporting the Amendment I am opposed to the principle of town and country planning. I think the principle is very important and I look forward to it being done in a more reasonable way. I do not think that this Bill really gets down to genuine planning. I think it is restricted and, therefore, I hope that many hon. Members will support our reasoned Amendment which I think would help to make the Bill much better than it is at present.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Malcolm MacMillan (Western Isles)
Scottish Members are repeatedly treated these days, when almost every Measure brought before this House is discussed, to the Tory pseudo-Scottish Nationalists groaning about "Scotland-Whitehall, Whitehall-Scotland." So it goes on in speech after speech delivered from the benches opposite until one is almost ashamed, for Scotland's sake, of the association of her name with certain of the people who have allowed the desecration of Scotland which it is the aim of this Bill to amend. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Perth (Colonel Gomme-Duncan) put in a good word for the Scottish landlords. I do not know whether he has ever read Carlyle. Carlyle certainly had something very different to say and he wrote quite a lot about it. Representing as I do a Highland constituency, and speaking for an even wider area of the Highlands—tonight it is not too much to say that Highland landlordism at its worst was a main cause of depopulation in the Isles and the North—I can say that the landowners of Scotland have done less than nothing so far as the Islands and Highlands are concerned and that private enterprise has never ventured into these parts because they never had a social purpose and never attempted that which would not bring them profit within a foreseeable time.
Housing in the Islands and Highlands generally had to be undertaken with the aid of the State and county council. The county councils themselves undertook it only when the State came in to help them financially, or with compulsory powers to see that they did what private enterprise did not do. There is one verse of the "Canadian Boat Song" which perhaps sums up quite a lot of what has been said 1791 about the depopulation by the Scottish landlords:When the forefathers, in the days long vanish'd,Conquered the soil and fortified the keep,No seer foretold their children. would be banished,That a degenerate lord might boast his sheep.That is the history of the Highlands in a nutshell. When the interest of the people came into conflict with the profit of the landlord, at that point the interest of the people was submerged and profit was everything. The people were forced to migrate and the landlord saw to his own profits.
In the Highlands, at least, much solicitude has been expressed, I think rather hypocritically at this time of clay, by the Tories on the opposite side of the House and their pseudo-Liberal satellites. It is rather late in the day for them to come to our aid when they are no longer responsible for doing anything about Scotland and the Highlands. They know they will not be called again for generations to come to do anything about Scotland and the Highlands. They can afford to do what any disreputable, discarded remnant of a political party can afford to do. They can afford to cry the name of the Scotland they have neglected in the past to the high heavens and they can afford to imply irredeemable promises of what they would do were they in power again.
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
If we are so disliked in the Highlands of Scotland, would the hon. Gentleman say why it is that he is, I think, the only Socialist representative of the Highlands?
§ Mr. MacMillan
I think the obvious answer is that the Western Islands saw the light possibly before the rest of the Highlands did—not, may I say, for the first time in history. It is also the case regarding Perthshire, that the Christian Gospel was brought there by St. Columba and the Iona community from the Hebrides. We hope to bring many other good things provided we are given the opportunity of developing the islands so that we can make a greater contribution to the work of this nation than we ever could in the Tory past. There is very little to be said for the Highland landlords of the past or of today. Their attentions have been as unwelcome as their neglect. 1792 They have depopulated the Highlands and Islands. They are the main cause of the failure to develop these areas economically. Where progress has been attempted they have tried to frustrate it. Compulsory powers have had to be applied, as in the Isle of Harris. We do not forget that in the 'thirties when the Labour Government came into office they had to release the Harris men from the Calton gaol in Edinburgh where a Tory Government had put them because they laid claim to a small portion of the land of their forefathers.
The Tory landlords, as far as the Highlands are concerned, laid waste hundreds upon thousands of acres, which went out of cultivation. I commend to those hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side, who are such ardent advocates of the importance of Scottish agriculture today, the remembrance of their guilty past, when they and their friends had the opportunity, when they were the only people who had that opportunity, to see to the reafforestation of Scotland, and to remember their own past record of the despoliation of Scotland, when they failed signally in the duty which was laid upon them. When they were industrial landlords, their record, in many respects, was little better. In fact, in the Highlands, they had a record of neglect and were the main causes of the failure of Highland agriculture, and of the emigration of the Highland people. In the cities, where they did develop, as one hon. Member said, under the methods of the industrial revolution, the results were very much worse in Scotland than anywhere else in the world. They desecrated some of the most beautiful areas in Scotland, and never attempted to make up for that desecration in any way whatsoever.
Lanarkshire was, at one time, one of the most beautiful counties in Southern Scotland; today, many parts of it are among the ugliest that we can see, and we have to thank the Scottish industrial landlords and the Scottish industrial revolution for that exploitation and that desecration. They exploited the population, just as they had forced them to emigrate in the North. The houses they built for the workers are the slums of today, and they made profits out of their slum properties in the industrial areas, and they caused the people to produce the highest records, possibly, of tuberculosis in the country—almost the third highest in 1793 Europe a few years ago. They trailed the ugly entrails of the mines of Lanarkshire out upon the most beautiful land in Scotland, and they never attempted to cover up the desecration of their profit making. We have heard the voice of the "Nonconformist" pretenders from the other side of the House, who do not realise that this Government was put into Office when those Nonconformists and their friends were spurned by the people of this country, by a people come triumphantly out of a war. And we can also thank the Tories for bringing us into it. It was a people, not in despair, but a people triumphant in victory which put a Socialist Government in Office with a mandate. [Interruption.] It ill becomes a National-Liberal to talk of a majority—
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
When the majority of the hon. Member is as good as mine, he will be quite happy.
§ Mr. MacMillan
It ill becomes the hon. Member to talk of a majority, because Nation Liberals can never hope to get a majority again, and can only hope to hold the balance between the two main parties in this House, without being an active force themselves at all. I congratulate the Secretary of State in going one further step forward in carrying out this mandate, which has been given to this Government by the people of the country, in order to rescue from the power of the Tories a country which is still capable of great development and high endeavour. In fact, it is incumbent upon the Secretary of State for Scotland to do this; it is an instruction, not merely a mandate from the people of this country. The right hon. Gentleman is taking his orders from the electorate, and from the majority of the people, in bringing forward this Bill tonight. He has got to do it, even if he did not like the Bill himself, because it the demand of the people of this country that he shall do it. [Laughter.] The hon. and gallant Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Lieut.-Colonel Thorp) reverberates like the empty vessel he is. If be has nothing more constructive to offer, while he sits on the Front Bench, than a giggle, then he should remove himself.
This Bill is a great step forward in preparing the ground for great economic developments in Scotland. It brings us away from the conception which was the 1794 basis of the actions of those Scottish landlords who have been defended by one after another of the hon. Members opposite. The fact is that these landlords were limited to the estates they owned themselves, and that they could not overlap into adjoining estates. They could only plan, at their best, while restricting their efforts to their own area, which was circumscribed by the limits of their own property. Under this Bill, we begin to see that planning will develop out upon a national scale. We are working towards a national plan and that is the essential method of restoring the balance between town and country which hon. Members on all sides of the House must agree has been deplorably destroyed in the past. Here, I am at one with the hon. and gallant Member for Perth, who, no doubt, is as anxious as anyone to see the restoration by this generation of the prosperity of Scotland's agriculture. This Government is going a certain part of the way to reverse that unbalance created by their predecessors and created by the neglect of the past. The Agriculture Bill has been mentioned, and I believe that, even if the Scottish Agriculture Bill is just like the Whitehall Bill, it will still go a long way to bring 'about security and better conditions for the land workers than they have ever known in the past.
The Secretary of State, I was glad to note, laid a good deal of stress upon the importance of linking up agricultural development and afforestation with the development of Scotland in general and the development of new towns. I was glad to see, as were some of my colleagues and many hon. Members opposite, that he is introducing here a limitation upon the desecration of the countryside, if not by uncontrolled advertising, at all events by undesirable advertising. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hillhead (Mr. Reid) has told us that we are not content with planning, but that we must over-plan. He charged that we "are not only planning for bricks and mortar; we are planning the lives of the people who will live in the bricks and mortar." I think it is high time that we inverted that ugly picture which we have had in the past. I think it is high time we gave to the people of this country an environment of space, light, colour and freedom which they have never known before. I think that, instead of having their lives 1795 spent in and planned and cramped to the ugly masses of bricks and mortar which the industrial revolution and Tory slum landlords produced—those slum landowners who paid their pennies into the Tory kitty—it is high time that we did plan beyond the bricks and mortar stage and planned for the lives of the workers —the people who brought these landlords all their wealth, the people who paid the rents to these Tory slum landlords. I would say to the Nonconformist landlords' advocate who speaks from the National Liberal Bench that they have been the curse of the working classes of this country—
§ Mr. MacMillan
I was strictly relating what I was saying to the provisions of the Bill. Hon. Members opposite have attacked the Bill on the basis of the State's interference, and have spoken of the local authorities coming into the picture, and of the communal efforts to improve the standard of living of the people of this country. That is really my point and the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hillhead, the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. H. Stewart) and other hon. Members have attacked the Bill on the principle of State intervention—excessively, as they think —in these things. I was referring to the prolblems of the creative intervention of the State and the work of local authorities in trying to improve the lives of the people.
I congratulate the Secretary of State for Scotland, and I know that all my colleagues in this House are with him tonight. Had he not come forward with this Bill during this Session, they would have felt that he had failed to carry out the instructions given to him by the electorate. We congratulate him upon the drafting, the contents and the lucid manner in which he explained the Bill to the House tonight. Many hon. Members have complimented him tonight, and I am sure that everyone on this side of the House will accompany him one step further tonight and go into the Division Lobby in support of the Bill and in fulfilment of that pledge which the Labour 1796 Party gave to the electorate, and upon which they were elected in 1945.
§ 8.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart (Fife, East)
The trouble With and the misfortune of the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. M. MacMillan) are that when he first came into this House some years ago, he came as the youngest and, some thought, its most handsome, Member, filled with, it was thought and hoped, visions of the new life, and certainly with ideas of modern times. But what has happened in the years that he has been in the House? More and more each year the hon. Member occupies his time and that of the House digging and stirring among the dead leaves of bygone and forgotten controversies.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I would remind the hon. Member that we are not discussing the past, the present or the future of the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. M. MacMillan); we are discussing the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Bill.
§ Mr. Stewart
The hon. Member for the Western Isles drew a most disproportioned picture of present events that one could possibly imagine. For example, he spoke as if the party of which he is such a distinguished member represents the great majority of the people. Such nonsense it is hard to—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The hon. Member is fully aware that that has nothing to do with the Bill under discussion, and he cannot continue that line of argument.
§ Mr. Stewart
With great respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I would point out that the hon. Member for the Western Isles occupied a moment or two on this very topic.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I would remind the hon. Gentleman that I stopped the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. M. MacMillan) and he desisted from that line of argument.
§ Mr. Stewart
I bow to your Ruling, Sir, and would only say that the hon. Member has a most inaccurate apprecia- 1797 tion of present conditions. I will refer to some of his remarks as I go along.
Here we have a Bill which certainly is a step in the swift, deliberate and inexorable denationalisation of Scotland. That is quite clear, whatever else is not. Since this administration began, we have seen the introduction of one Bill after another—first, the Civil Aviation Bill, then the Transport Bill, then the Electricity Bill, and now this one—and in every case, power has been taken from Scotland and a drivelling, helpless, inept advisory council has been substituted to control our country, while, at the same time, the power, authority and executive action sit here in London. This is another step in the same direction, and we had better recognise that fact. There is to be an office, and the Secretary of State is to give that office instructions about something. I wonder what? But, in no part of this Bill has the Secretary of State a scrap of authority in the assessment of the critical figure of compensation If I am wrong the right hon. Gentleman will no doubt correct me. All power in regard to compensation, which is the vital element in this Bill, lies in the Central Land Board in London, and Scottish men and women will have their fortunes affected, if not filched, by direction. [Laughter.] The hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) is laughing. I will come to that point later and I might even get the approval of the hon. Member before I have finished.
As I was saying, power over the control of Scottish life with regard to this great fundamental asset, the land, now centres in London. Electricity has gone from us, transport is going, civil aviation has gone long since, and now the control of the land is to be planted in London. So long as we all understand that, and the people appreciate the situation, that is all right. The Secretary of State knows as well as anybody in this House something about the problems of local authorities. I am well acquainted with the right hon. Gentleman's work in connection with local authorities in Scotland in days gone by. He and I are old opponents. We are both "Fifers" in the sense that we both live and work in Fife. I know the right hon. Gentleman understands local government as well as anybody. I cannot understand why one so knowledgeable should wish to impose on Scottish local authorities, and particularly on the county coun- 1798 cils, yet another almost intolerable burden. I go to the Fife county council office regularly while I am in Fife, and I fancy the conditions there are to be found elsewhere in Scotland. They have on their tables now very. nearly halt a dozen new major Bills. It is impossible for either the officials or the committees of any Scottish local authority to master, must less manage, these new Measures. The Government are crushing and killing the proper administration of local government in Scotland by this extreme, idiotic pressure of Bills. Our administration is suffering in every possible direction. There is only one result which can follow from the passing of this Bill, which will, no doubt, be carried through with the same steamroller tactics as before—more muddle, more bureaucracy and more delay.
The right hon. Gentleman knows, and the hon. Member for West Fife knows it too, that the Fife county council have begged him to short-circuit and simplify the whole method of procedure in the case of housing, for example [Interruption.] If the hon. Member for West Fife wishes to dissociate himself, perhaps he will say so.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I associate myself with the county council, but in the present circumstances I do not associate myself with the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. H. Stewart).
§ Mr. Stewart
I do not mind. I do not particularly want to be associated politically with the hon. Member for West Fife at any time. The hon. Member knows perfectly well that the Fife county council has put forward to the Secretary of State convincing arguments concerning the gross bureaucratic methods which are holding up, for example, housing. We have proved our case and steps have been taken to cut the "cackle" and the "red tape." Under this new Bill we shall have more bureaucracy and more delay, and the whole business not only of town and country planning but of housing will be held up by this Measure.
There is much that I could say, but in the few minutes which I will occupy I want to concentrate upon the subject of compensation. Compensation is dealt with in the Bill under three different headings. There is the £300 million which is to be made available to those 1799 upon whom an order has been imposed preventing development of their land. That is one form of compensation. There is the other case in which finance is involved, of the development charge. There is the third case, of the problem of the 1939 values. I want to say a word or two about each of them. When I listened to the hon. Member for Tradeston (Mr. Rankin) and his colleague the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister) I had a vision of a new and better plan for Scotland, as, indeed, I think all of us had. But has it occurred to those hon. Members that new planning is not just a case of towns, houses and roads, but of living people—John Mackenzie and Margaret Mackenzie and the property they presently occupy? It is upon that property, the property of those Scottish citizens, that the new planning is to take place. Therefore, the cases of the people, the human beings concerned in this very matter, must be considered. There are many tens of thousands of them, but only a few are men of any consequence in the form of wealth or means. The great bulk of those who occupy and own property in Scotland are people in quite humble circumstances. I represent a county, East Fife, where, perhaps for its size, there are a greater number of small property owners than elsewhere; they are owners of houses, owners of pieces of land—perhaps little more than an inglenook—and, therefore, I am very well aware of the situation. I do appeal, even to hon. Members opposite, and even to the most hard of heart, to consider their problem.
If a humble person, and perhaps even a less than humble person, has taken away from him compulsorily something he has purchased, perhaps with his savings—and since the war many of them have purchased land or houses with their war gratuities—surely, the least the State can do is to re-establish him, by some method of compensation, in as good a position as he was in before. If it is a planning Bill which is being offered to the House, at least that element of justice should be done. Of course, if it is a property expropriation Bill, in which the 'Government are interested, then let that 'be upon the Title, and let us know exactly at what they are aiming. I contend that that is the fundamental principle from which this House cannot depart. The State is cer- 1800 tainly entitled to take from its citizens in the public interests. But if something is taken from a man in this country, whatever his position or wealth, he ought to be reconstituted to at least as good a position as he was before.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Is the hon. Member serious about that? I should agree with him on that, on condition that the man concerned is placed in the same position as he was before on the basis of a life annuity.
§ Mr. Stewart
The hon. Member and I are not very far apart in this. The only difference he is suggesting between his view and mine is in regard to the form of payment He is asking for a fixed income.
§ Mr. Stewart
We are talking in terms or a capital sum and life interest. There is not a great deal of difference in it. I am glad to find the hon. Member agrees with the principle involved. If that is agreed, how can this Bill possibly be accepted by the hon. Member, or any hon. Member opposite?
Let us examine the Bill as it is now. First of all, take the question of the £300 million. The first thing I have to ask is: Why is it £300 million? I asked the Secretary of State that question in the course of his speech, and he said that if he did not deal with it the Lord Advocate might. Consider the Barlow Committee —and nobody opposite would seek to derogate from the authority of that body. After sitting several years, and with the greatest pains and trouble, that Committee came to the conclusion that £400 million was the minimum sum that ought to be set aside. Perhaps the Barlow Committee were wrong. I do not know. But if they were wrong, upon what grounds do the Government think they were wrong? Have the Government made another inquiry? If so, what sort of inquiry, and where did they inquire? And what are the facts that led them to this figure of £300 million, 25 per cent, less than the comparatively small figure recently offered by those other experts? What are the grounds for this proposal? The Lord Advocate ought to tell us, and he ought to tell us how this relates to Scotland.
The Secretary of State said that this £300 million was to be for those who suffered cases of hardship—"cases of admitted hardship," I think, were his 1801 words. So we are going to have a hardship test All right. Who is to judge of the hardship? And is that really justice? Is hardship the same as justice? What is hardship. If a man comes along with a really good story, and says he is a very poor man, and that the Government have taken away his ewe lamb or his little bit of land which is his all, is that a case of hardship? If it be adjudged a case of hardship he might be entitled to something out of the £300 million. But take another man, whose landed property he has acquired by the labour of a lifetime, and who does not suffer the same hardship. He is to have only a small percentage of the £300 million. That is not justice. I repeat, and I keep on repeating, and I beg the House to realise, that nothing but justice should control our views upon this matter, and I say there is no justice here. [Interruption.] I know the Labour Party laugh at justice. I know it is our misfortune that we have entered into a time when Socialists are our new masters, who think nothing of justice. I was laughed and scorned at by the hon. Member for the Western Isles apparently with the approval of his colleagues. At least, as a Liberal I am not ashamed to stand here and defend justice, elementary justice.
§ Mr. M. Macmillan
The hon. Member will pardon me. I did not scorn the hon. Member for being a Liberal, because if I had I should have been talking of the past. I was scorning him as an ex-Liberal, elected on Tory votes.
§ Mr. Stewart
Let me ask the Secretary of State. He and I fought, and I gave him a good thrashing. If there is any constituency in the whole of Great Britain which deserves to be a Liberal constituency it is the one I represent.
§ Mr. Stewart
It is very difficult, when we have these rather stupid remarks thrown across the Floor of the House. The constituency I represent was for 34 years represented by Mr. Asquith, and I am still proud to call myself a Liberal. I come now to the next point, the development charges.
§ Mr. Scollan
Before the hon. Member leaves the other point, would he mind considering this question of justice? It 1802 rather intrigues me. A clear majority of the people in Scotland think that if the landlords had justice, they would be hanged, drawn and quartered.
§ Mr. Stewart
I will give the hon. Member a case—that of a man I know who has spent his war gratuity, with the help of a loan, in buying a small farm in Scotland. The hon. Member would hang, draw and quarter that landlord.
§ Mr. Scollan
Does not the hon. Member know the difference between a landlord, and a landowner who works his own land?
§ Mr. Stewart
Clearly, the hon. Member misunderstands this Bill. This man owns land, and this Bill enables his land to be taken away from him. Whether he is a landowner or a landlord makes no difference to the fact that his property can be taken away from him. And this is the man the hon. Member would hang, draw and quarter. I come now to the development charges. The Secretary of State told us what these were going to do. This is a very interesting thing. These development charges are to he paid in some cases and not in others. Examples have been given. I will give another example. There is to be no development charge on any building for agricultural purposes, but if, on the same farm, a building is put up for market garden purposes, one has got to pay on that. I call it ludicrous. I know, because I have tried making a living out of it. My farm is not exceptional, there are thousands of farms like mine, coupling general agriculture with market gardening, and how is it possible to say that one building is for agriculture and another in the next field is for horticulture? The thing is crazy, but this is the kind of Bill that this House is solemnly invited to pass tonight.
Let us take now the next point about the development charge. There are to be no general regulations about it; it is to vary, and to vary not only according to the use of the land but according to the social conditions of the time. The right hon. Gentleman said that it might vary, for example, in the case of unemployment. What does that mean? Does it mean that if in some parts of Scotland unemployment is higher than in others a man in the higher unemployment area will have to pay a lower development charge than a man in the other areas? Is that fair? On what grounds of justice can anybody attempt to sustain that as a proposition? 1803 I repeat, surely if you are taking something away from a man you ought to put him back as nearly as possible where he was. If you are imposing a new tax upon the citizens it ought to be a fair tax, an even tax, falling upon people equally according to their means.
Then we come to the question of the 1939 values. I remember the Debate in 1944 in this House in the time of the National Government. I was a critic of the Government as I very often am, whether it is a Government I am supporting or not. I was one of the critics of the Government at that time and I found myself, oddly enough, with the present English Minister of Town and Country Planning in criticising that Measure. One of the things for which we criticised that Measure was the 1939 value basis. As the right hon. and learned Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) today pointed out, the 1939 value was chosen in the middle of the war because conditions then were quite fluid, but we have now passed the war. Surely it should be possible to arrive at some more satisfactory basis? To base the acquisition of land in Scotland upon a value on a date so far back is rank injustice, and I myself would oppose the Bill for that if for no other reason.
I hope I have not overstepped the limit, and I am grateful to the House for having listened to me. I feel very strongly on this matter. I have taken an active part in all the Debates. I entered politics under the shelter of Mr. Lloyd George, who at that time was engaged upon a great land campaign, and I feel very deeply about this. Looking at this Bill with every desire to see better planning —and I have taken my part during 14 years in this House in advancing town planning schemes, and I agreed with the broad general principle of still better town planning—I must say that this Bill has so many fundamental defects, particularly in that it imposes injustice upon humble people that I must oppose it.
§ 8.54 p.m.
§ Miss Herbison (Lanark, North)
I have sat through most of this Debate today and I begin to wonder if it is really a town and country planning Bill which is being debated. The majority of the speeches of hon. Members opposite have dealt almost wholly with the question of compensation. 1804 The speech to which we have just listened dealt with almost nothing else, except for one part in which the hon. Member said this was another Measure to denationalise Scotland. We have listened to statements like that coming from the Opposition, but when I look at my own constituency and see the desecration of that part of Lanarkshire and the misery and degradation that my people have to suffer and are suffering at the present time as a result of the time when hon. Members opposite were in full power in this country and in Scotland, I begin to wonder if there is really any sincerity at all in hon. Members opposite, or is it that they know only the landlords in Scotland, and not the people who live in our miserable slums in Glasgow, and those people who live in the miserable hovels in the mining villages I represent? It is either insincerity or ignorance on their part. I, too, am worried about this matter of compensation, but for different reasons from those of hon. Members opposite. The hon. Member for West Perth (Mr. Snadden) said that he did not have any time for land speculators, but he promptly differentiated between land speculators and land owners—
§ Mr. Snadden
I was not making that point. I was saying that this Bill affects the small owner-occupier more than the land owner, because he is not in the urban area.
§ Miss Herbison
I was going to deal with that point. The hon. Member did differentiate between a speculator and a land owner. Perhaps he attempted to differentiate between different landowners. I would also differentiate between certain types of landowners. We have a great many big landowners in Scotland, and they are to get a good whack out of this £300 million. What right have they to it? Surely every inch of Scottish land should be the heritage of Scots people and not of individuals. I object as much to this compensation to landowners as I objected to the many millions of pounds given by way of royalties to those who owned the minerals under the soil. To me, there is no reason for giving either of these people compensation. We are much more worried about the human needs and human problems, which we hope this Bill will meet and help to solve. We are far more concerned about the type of places in which people are living. I think of many districts in my constituency where 1805 people are living, particularly near to Bishopbriggs, which is a beautiful area. About a mile from there we have what the miners call the "forgotten village," Mavis Valley. I sometimes wonder when I go into the homes of these miners, how they are able to get so much beauty into their lives, living under such conditions, with no social amenities whatever. I wonder how they are able to keep going, and how they are able to appreciate beauty as they do. It can only be because of the grand type of people we have among our workers in Scotland, that they are able to stand up to these conditions which Governments of previous years have brought about. I think that the people in North Lanark and in some parts of Glasgow will have something to which to look forward in the future. They want more beautiful homes to live in and, what is perhaps even more important, real social community centres round about their homes, the amenities which other people have had. The workers who are producing the wealth of this country will, I am sure, look forward to getting, under this Bill, some of the products of the fine work which they have done.
§ 9.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Thornton-Kemsley (Aberdeen and Kincardine, Western)
I am sincerely and genuinely sorry that the House was not able to hear more of the speech of the hon. Member for North Lanark (Miss Herbison), because although she spoke about human needs and problems, miserable slums in Glasgow and miserable hovels in mining villages, she was unable to say—because she had not the time to do it—how the Bill will help alleviate those conditions. What I shall seek to prove, in the time at my disposal, is that this Bill will not only not help those conditions, but will delay the kind of development we want to see in Scotland.
This Bill was published within a week of the Second Reading of the Town and Country Planning Bill for England and Wales. I wish the Secretary of State had followed the precedent which he set himself in the case of the National Health Service Bill, in waiting until he had time to study the reactions of the country to the legislation that was proposed before he came forward with this Scottish Bill. This Measure, with two not unimportant exceptions, follows in every detail the Bill for England and Wales. The two excep- 1806 tions, as the Minister knows well, are, first, that Scotland is to share in the £300 million which has been referred to more than once today—
§ Mr. Thornton-Kemsley
The second exception is that the Central Land Board is to cover Scotland, as well as England and Wales. My first point is that the size and importance of Scotland, as well as the differences in our systems of land tenure, certainly warrants Scotland having a land board of her own. It is an astonishing and lamentable fact that neither the Secretary of State, nor the Lord Advocate, have asked, at any time, that Scotland should have her own land board. The Secretary of State told us, in his opening speech, that that was impracticable. Why? May I remind him of the three functions of the Central Land Board, and show that it would be practicable to have a separate land board for Scotland? Its first function is to break down the £300 million as between England and Wales, on the one hand, and Scotland, on the other. But we have a perfectly well understood rule, our eleven-eightieths rule. If that is thought not to be applicable to this particular case, then we are driven back to ascertaining development values in England and Wales, and in Scotland.
Clear directions are given in Clause 51 to show how that could be arrived at. Any valuer would understand perfectly well how to value the development rights in land. If that were thought to be difficult, it would be easy for joint consultation between the English and Welsh Board and the Board that would be set up for Scotland. The second function of the Central Land Board is to assess development charges. It was on that point in particular that the right hon. Gentleman spoke, and he said that it was necessary that there should be consistency. Of course, there cannot be anything else but consistency, because the whole thing is tied by regulations which will be drawn up under Clause 60 (3) of the Bill; they are absolutely tied up, with no possibility of differences between the two countries.
The third and last function of the Board is to act as middleman in acquiring land for resale under Clause 38 of the 1807 Bill. There is no reason why there should not be a Scottish Board, and the Scottish Board would act for the Secretary of State in exactly the same way as the English Board would act for the Minister. In Scotland, we have the advantage of being, comparatively speaking, a backward area as regards development. It is true that the durable stone construction of urban tenements will present a redevelopment problem which will be far harder to solve than the problem presented by the brick-built two-storeyed terraced houses of the East End of London when they came to be acquired under clearance schemes before the war. We have, thank God, been spared the worst horrors of urban sprawl and ribbon development, and our countryside in Scotland is still truly rural. In town and country alike, we desperately need housing development, and need it at once. The main essentials of a Scottish Bill ought to (be, first of all, effective control of development; secondly, extreme flexibility; and, thirdly, the maximum encouragement to approved development. This last, I submit, the Bill does not give us. Why should the Secretary of State follow so pathetically in the wake of English Ministers, when we have special Scottish problems of our own? Has he no mind of his own? Has Scotland no problems of its own? Whatever the Minister in Whitehall may ask the English people to swallow, the Scots will be treated with the same dose. We were once a proud and independent people. We have nowadays to pocket our pride and forego our independence, as the Secretary of State follows obediently in the wake of his English colleagues. I am reminded of the Negro spiritual:I'm coming, I'm coming,For my head is bending low;I hear those gentle voices callingPoor old Joe.I do not want to talk about all the bad features of this Bill. I want to talk about the good features. I think the Bill has good features, and I will never cease to say so. First, it is all to the good that planning authorities will have to prepare a plan and to have it ready at least by a definite date. That will not be easy. I believe there is a real problem in the shortage of skilled technical staff. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead (Mr. J. S. C. Reid) men- 1808 tioned that matter in his speech. The position in England is not nearly so acute in this respect, because, as the Minister told us in moving the Second Reading of the English Bill, the English planning authorities, by that Bill, are being reduced by nine-tenths, so that presumably the technical experts of the authorities which become redundant will be able to be absorbed in the larger planning authorities. In Scotland there is no such reduction. We are to carry on with the same planning authorities. I hope the Secretary of State will bear that point in mind, and if he can give us some assurance that he is satisfied that properly trained technical staff exists to do this planning in time, I should like him to do so
I think it is right that a time limit should be set, although if there is a manpower difficulty, as I believe there may be, it might be right that the plan should be ma de within five years instead of within three years. The provision for a quin-quennial review is a good one. It allows a good deal more flexibility than the present cumbrous and involved procedure for securing an amendment to a Statutory scheme. I agree with my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Perth (Colonel Gomme-Duncan) that the control of outdoor advertisements given by Clause 26 is a good thing, although it is only permissive. I would like to sec all outdoor advertisements subject to the control of local planning authorities. That ought to be done quickly, because we want to build up a tourist industry and the more tourists we attract to the country, the greater will be the desire of advertisers to reach a wide public. I would like to see the prohibition outside towns of all advertisements of a general character, except advertisements referring to local industries, to hotels, or to local tourists' accommodation, and all the rest ought to be subject to the licence of the local planning authority.
Having given those grains of comfort, if such they are, to the Secretary of State, I would like to talk about some of the bad things in the Bill. First of all, there is the 1939 price. The 1939 price is to be for two things; first, for compulsory acquisition, and secondly, for the prohibition of certain specified developments. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead reminded the House of the background to that price, and I do not need to go into 1809 that again, except to say that the special wartime conditions in respect of which the 1939 price was imposed have now been adjusted, and there can be no continuing reason for allowing public authorities to acquire property at less than the market value. Under Clause 32, existing buildings can be acquired compulsorily at 1939 prices and put to commercial use. For example, the Coal Board can come along and can acquire compulsorily existing office accommodation at 1939 prices, and can then continue to use it for office purposes. I say that if it does that, it ought to pay a competitive price; it ought to pay the full market value.
Neither has there been any justification for relating compensation for restriction of user to the 1939 prices. If I am to be prevented in 1949 from carrying out any development specified in the Third Schedule of the Bill—I would remind the House that that would include the building of a farm cottage to house a worker on my land or adding more than 10 per cent. to the cubic content of a building that has been blitzed during the war—I am to be compensated not in terms of 1949 prices, but in terms of prices which were current TO years before, when the pound was worth an entirely different figure, and when conditions were themselves completely different.
We are given to understand that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has asked Sir Malcolm Trustram Eve to report on the whole subject of the escalation in war damage payments, and that when he has received this report he will ask his colleagues to look again at the general situation. I am not quite clear what that means. We are led to believe that when they have looked they will come along with some other way of dealing with this problem than upon the 1939 basis. Until that review is made, and pending the announcement of a satisfactory alternative, we will continue to maintain the injustice of this kind of expropriation.
Now I will turn to the development charge. The proportion of that charge is entirely at the discretion of the Secretary of State. The Central Land Board has to determine whether any charge should be levied in every case, and if so, what charge has to be levied. Regulations approved by the Treasury and by affirmative Reso- 1810 lution of both House of Parliament may prescribe the general principles which the Board must follow in assessing these charges. The Clause—Clause 60—is permissive. In any case, the activities of the Board are subject to any directions which may be given -them by the Secretary of State. It would be perfectly possible, I am advised, for a Tory Secretary of State to direct that a charge of 100 per cent. should be levied upon developments carried out by, shall we say, a co-operative society and that there should be no charge at all levied on developments carried out by private traders. I do not want to suggest for one moment that it is conceivable that any Minister of any party would act in such a way, but he would have, under the Bill, that discriminatory power, and it is wrong. Development charges amount, in effect, to a check on land development. The amount at which a tax ought to be levied should be subject to Parliamentary control and should not be left to Ministerial direction.
I must confess that when I read this Scottish Bill I wondered if the Secretary of State for Scotland had read it himself. Then I wondered whether, if he had read it, he had understood it, and, if he had done both those things, whether he had troubled to inform himself or his colleagues of some of its consequences. I could give any number of examples of the kind of thing I mean, but let me just cite one or two. There was, for instance, that given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead concerning the conversion of one dwelling house into two or more flats under Clause 8 (3). It is the most extraordinary thing because sub-lettings without conversion will be encouraged and persons who are wanting housing accommodation will be all right if they take a sub-let without conversion. But once the house is converted and they are given proper, decent, sanitary modern accommodation then the converter makes himself liable for a development charge, which is, of course, a direct deterrent in the way of housing the people of Scotland. I wonder if the Secretary of State consulted his hon. Friend the joint Under-Secretary of State about that?
The next example has to do with the enlargement or improvement of farm cottages. My right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) reminded 1811 the House about this, and the Secretary of State has taken the trouble to inform us that he is the responsible Minister for agriculture. I ask the Secretary of State what he did, as Minister in charge of the planning Bill, when he consulted himself about this particular nonsense in his capacity as Minister in charge of agriculture. We need houses on the land and we want to do all we can to modernise them and have more farm cottages built, yet in this Bill one renders oneself liable to a development charge if one adds more than 10 per cent. to the size of an existing cottage or does anything so wrong as to build a new one.
Another point I want to mention is the effect of the designation of land as suitable for compulsory acquisition. The effect of that will be that we shall sterilise land for 10 years. Take the example of a farm on the outskirts of a small burgh. Everyone is suggesting now that we should produce as much milk as possible, and a great many mixed farmers are trying, quite rightly, to obtain licences to turn their holdings into dairy farms and to carry out improvements which will make their byres suitable and enable them to pass the test for producing T.T. milk, and so on. What is going to be the effect of this? Every planning authority will designate more land than can possibly be wanted by public authorities. It is the process all over again of the "floating value" mentioned, I think, by Barlow; where land was likely to come into development each owner thought it was his particular piece of land that would be taken, so that a kind of floating value became attached to it. Ultimately the developer would settle on one piece only, but the process resulted in enhancing the value of all the land concerned. Is not that exactly what is going to happen with regard to this designation? Every local authority will think that every piece of land which might conceivably be taken ought to he designated, so that it will be sterilised for a period of 10 years. I have two suggestions to make about that. First of all, the 10 years ought certainly not to be more than five. Secondly, at any time during the currency of designation an owner should have the power to serve a purchase notice on the local planning authority to require them to take his land at once.
1812 The next point I wish to mention concerns the case of an industrialist desiring to erect an industrial building—and I wonder if the Secretary of State has consulted his colleagues about that. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to look it up the reference is in Clause 10 (4) of the Bill. The industrialist has to go to the Board of Trade and ask it whether his proposed development is consistent with the distribution of industry. In this particular case a departure is made from the general principle that affected parties are entitled to have their views heard, and there is no appeal from the decision of the Board of Trade. It seems to me to be wrong that the Board of Trade, which is not a planning authority, should have power to decide whether any particular kind of development should go on in a particular area and then to veto the whole thing without any appeal.
Lastly, I want to mention the power to restrict development to only 10 per cent. of the cubic content of a building. There are a great many sites in our cities which have been blitzed, and many of these sites might well have been covered by obsolete buildings, or only part of the site might have been covered. That site has to be covered with similar buildings, and if those buildings are more than 10 per cent. above the cubic capacity of the buildings previously there the owner will have to pay a development charge. That is a deterrent against good, sound planning. I will conclude by saying that I am not against planning. Parts of this Bill are good, but I think that far too much is left to delegated legislation, that there is a good deal too much in the Bill that is permissive instead of mandatory. Indeed, so much is that the case that a proper appreciation of the practical effects of many of the Clauses of the Bill is quite impossible. The effect and the equity of many of the provisions of the Bill, for good or ill, will depend upon the way in which the Bill is administered. An imaginative administration, free from doctrinaire prejudices, should make the planning parts of this Bill work to the great advantage of Scotland and her people, but unhappily we have not such an administration at the present time, and there is the rub.
§ 9.29 p.m.
§ The Lord Advocate (Mr. G. R. Thomson)
I should have thought that hon. Members opposite would have been 1813 more than satisfied that they have here a Bill which is confined to Scotland, and which allows for our own particular local government being set up. But there is no enthusiasm like the enthusiasm of a recent convert, and I suppose there is no prude like a reformed rake. So we find that the new converts to Scottish nationalism are still dissatisfied. This question of a Central Board is a very simple question indeed. The Central Board has to deal mainly with matters of compensation and betterment, and these are matters which are common in principle to the whole of Great Britain. It is only in administrative details that there is any chance of any divergence or difference between the two countries, and any such divergence is met by the setting-up in Scotland of a Scottish Office, and by Scottish representation on the Central Board. That Board, as far as its Scottish activities are concerned, is liable to direction by a Scottish Minister. Any other method would bring about costly duplication and lack of uniformity. This, after all, is an Inland Revenue matter, and hon. Members opposite might as well ask for a separate Budget. The Valuation Department operates to everybody's satisfaction exactly as we propose the Central Board should operate. The War Damage Commission is another example of the same thing. Hon. Members opposite should try to acquire some sense of proportion in these matters. The continual cry of "Wolf" every time Scotland is mentioned, is not doing Scotland any good. The plain fact of the matter is that this Government are doing and will do far more for Scotland than any other Government in recent years.
§ The Lord Advocate
I did hope that there would be general agreement on all sides of the House that there was a real necessity for a comprehensive scheme for Scotland. I listened to a good deal of the Debate on the English Bill and I read every word of it in HANSARD. I was struck by the fact that English Members, although they disagreed with us on a number of principles, which one could quite understand, were wholeheartedly in favour of planning. It was with real distress that I listened to the first two speeches made from the Opposition Benches today. The right hon. and learned Member for Hill- 1814 head (Mr. Reid) was against planning altogether, and seemed to be in favour of muddling through, which appears to me to be unmitigated defeatism. In fact, he very soon went off planning altogether and a good part of his speech was concerned with passing legal conundrums to me as to what would happen if there was a bathroom in a certain type of house, and a kitchen in another type, and things of that kind. These do not seem to be very appropriate topics in a Debate of this sort.
I was relieved to find that as the Debate went on, one or two hon. Members of the Opposition did seem to take some interest in planning in Scotland. I am sure that there must be Members on the other side of the House who deplore as we deplore the ravages and devastation of the past. We are determined that that sort of thing shall not happen again. Indeed, even under past Conservative Governments certain tentative steps have been taken to deal with planning. There are certain Measures on the Statute Book. It is quite true we think they are too rigid, that they are too local, that they are only permissive and tend only to be preventive, but they are there. What is it that prevents them being put into operation and really made of some use? The fact is that planning is, to all intents and purposes, a sham unless the Government which put forward a planning scheme are prepared to stand up to the financial implications of the scheme. No previous Government faced these financial implications, and successful planning has been prevented simply because planning authorities cannot afford to meet the costs of development values. That is the crux of the situation and no Conservative or Coalition Government met it; they dare not meet it because, if they try to meet it, it touches the pockets of their chief supporters.
§ The Lord Advocate
I am sorry, I have not too much time, and I really cannot give way. The issue goes deeper than just touching the pockets of their chief supporters. The cleavage between the two sides of the House on this issue really boils down to first principles, because hon. Members opposite believe that the profit motive is fundamental and, consistently with that, they believe that this financial problem can be solved only by compensating landlords for the full value of their development rights. The result 1815 is that no Tory Government can ever find the money to carry on any genuine planning reform. They are in this dilemma, that they must either throw the landlords to the wolves, or keep up the Income Tax to buy them out. They have never faced this dilemma, and the result is that planning for them is either a pious hope, or something to be avoided at all costs. Now we on this side of the House are prepared, and we do it in this Bill, to face the financial implications, and it is only a Labour Government working on Socialist principles that could do so. This Measure, in my submission a great and imaginative Measure which ought to safeguard the future development of Scotland for the next 100 years, is given to Scotland by a Labour Government, and could only be given to Scotland by a Labour Government. The reason is that we are not tied to landed or vested interests. We do not believe in the sanctity of the profit motive. We believe that the interests of the community have to be the paramount consideration, and we put human values in front of development values.
Our solution of this financial difficulty is based on simple equitable principles. In our view, development values are the creation of the community, and it is elementary justice that the community should re-absorb these values. We see no reason why a private owner should reap the harvest sown by the community, and less reason why the speculator, who has been dabbling in land values, should reap the harvest. There is a strong case, a very strong case, for the community taking away its own values, without any payment of any kind.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
But this is dealing with someone else's values, the values of the man who has built a house.
§ The Lord Advocate
We are not dealing with anyone else's values. We are taking the community's values back.
§ Mr. Buchanan
It takes these university people to show the poorer people how to conduct themselves.
§ The Lord Advocate
We recognise that there will be hard cases. To meet those hard cases, the Government are prepared 1816 to put aside the not inconsiderable sum of £300 million. That is quite a considerable gratuity. The financial hurdle has to be met. As I say, the Conservative Party dare not meet it, but we are prepared to take the responsibility of meeting it. How is the financial hurdle got over?
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman going to answer my question about people whose property is the same, but whose financial circumstances have changed? Do they get the same compensation?
§ The Lord Advocate
Let us see how the thing works out. We work on the basis of existing use. The owner is free to carry on with his existing use. If his existing use is curtailed, he will, in general, get compensation in the ordinary sense of the term. But, no development from existing use can be carried out without permission. If the owner applies for permission to develop, and is refused, broadly speaking, he gets no compensation. When permission is granted, and a change is made from existing use, any resultant increase in land values is collected by the State as a betterment charge. That is the principle on which we are able to work. We are able to do so, because we have solved the financial problem that lies at the bottom of the whole difficulty. The general result is that, in future, land will pass at its existing use value, and development value will pass to the State. It follows from that, that planning in the full and proper sense of the term becomes financially feasible, because planning authorities are able to buy at existing use values.
I said earlier that the whole difficulty about planning, what has stood in the way of planning, what has stultified planning, has been the high cost at which planning authorities have been forced to buy. That is the one thing that has more than anything else stood in the way of successful planning. Once it is possible for planning authorities to plan on the basis that they are able to acquire land at the existing use value, the way is clear to a comprehensive planning scheme. It enables planning consent to be given on 1817 social and planning grounds, and it enables every case to be considered and dealt with on its merits.
§ Mr. Maclay
The Lord Advocate spent the first part of his speech accusing this side of the House in not being interested in planning. I spoke for about a quarter of an hour steadily asking if there was a plan behind this Bill. I wish the Lord Advocate would answer that, and say whether there is a plan.
§ The Lord Advocate
I will deal, in a moment, with the point which has been raised by the hon. Member. What I am endeavouring to explain to hon. Members opposite just now is that the real difficulty and the real problem which lies behind planning is the financial difficulty. The only man on the other side of the House who really faced that tonight, and was perfectly frank about it, was the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Stewart). He at any rate had the courage of his convictions, and said that this matter of compensation was the crux of the situation.
We solve this problem by reabsorbing development values which have been created by the community, and by so doing we are in the position to allow planning authorities to carry out planning on what is a financially feasible basis. We go further than that. In order to assist planning, certain advantages we have already given are reinforced by a system of Exchequer grants, which, are of three types. There is the Exchequer grant, which is given in the case of war damaged property, there is the Exchequer grant given in respect of life property, and there is a third grant which is given for losses which are incurred as a result of planning activities.
The hon. Member for Montrose Burghs (Mr. Maclay) is exercised as to what the plan is. One thing the hon. Member might do is to study the Bill, or even study the Explanatory Memorandum. If he does, he will see that the first step in the matter is the carrying out of a comprehensive survey for the whole country from a general point of view and on a national basis. Then there is a development plan and there are provisions for the revision of the development plan. There is provision enabling the Secretary of State in the national interest to co-ordinate all the various plans. The idea is to create a 1818 flexible instrument which will enable plans to be carried out in a national and thoroughly satisfactory way. At the bottom of it all, there is, I repeat, the factor, that local authorities are now in a position to acquire land cheaply and to dispose of that land to private enterprise or to carry out the development themselves. The hon. Member for West Perth (Mr. Snadden) was one of those who expressed himself as favourable to planning. He asked some questions about the position of agricultural land. I appreciate that they are very important questions. Agricultural land is important. I can assure the hon. Member that, so far as agricultural land is concerned, a comprehensive system of planning will be most beneficial for agriculture. The hon. Gentleman also asked about the position of tenants. So far as tenants are concerned, they will get compensation for disturbance in the ordinary way.
§ Mr. J. S. C. Reid
Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman really mean that local authorities are to pay compensation for disturbance under the Agricultural Holdings Act? If so, it is quite new. It is not in the Bill.
§ The Lord Advocate
The ordinary law stands, as I understand it, in regard to compensation for disturbance.
§ The Lord Advocate
In the case of the owner-occupier, under Part II of the Town and Country Planning Act of 1945, they get the 1939 values plus 30 per cent. which, I understand, is to be increased to 60 per cent. Some hon. Members say that this is not the time to carry out a new planning scheme. We on this side of the House believe in facing the future. This Bill is intended as a long-term policy on a national basis. It is suggested that there is a shortage of specialist staff. I agree that to some extent there may be a shortage of men who are specially trained in planning. But there are, amongst the local authorities throughout Scotland, very many men who are in a good position to start and make progress with preliminary steps. We should not be justified in leaving over a matter of this importance indefinitely. Matters have been allowed to drift long enough. Now is the 1819 time to take steps, in order to carry out a comprehensive planning policy.
Although some hon. Members have been rather dubious about the desirability of planning for Scotland at all, others have attempted to be more co-operative. I earnestly hope that, when this Bill goes upstairs, we shall have the co-operation of all hon. Members on all sides of the House. It seems to me, that, if we can get co-operation from men of good will, we ought to be able to fashion a weapon that will be of great usefulness in forging Scotland's future. We have the good fortune to have in Scotland a country of unrivalled and varied beauty, much of which can still be safeguarded. This Bill is not meant merely to safeguard beauty spots. It goes further and deeper than that. It is intended to be a design for living, and its object is to safeguard for the future the lives and hopes of Scotland and Scotsmen.
§ 9.57 p.m.
Mr. McKie (Galloway)
In the two Minutes that remain, because I do not want to hold up the Division—being most anxious to vote in support of the Amendment—I want to say that I am deeply disappointed with the lamentable speech which the Lord Advocate has just made. I might describe him as being a bad advocate of a very second-rate Bill. He has not made any attempt to answer seriously one of the many questions which have been addressed to him from this side of the
§ House. It is true that he attempted to deal in a very cursory manner with the agricultural points put to him by the hon. Member for West Perth (Mr. Snadden), but he left in a totally nebulous condition the point on which my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hillhead (Mr. Reid) interrupted him.
§ Mr. McAllister
On a point of Order. Is it in Order for an hon. Gentleman to make such an outrageous attack upon the Lord Advocate, when hon. and right hon. Members on the hon. Gentleman's own Front bench were engaged on gossiping most of the time?
I say that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has left us completely in the dark on the point raised by my right hon. and learned Friend as to where tenant-farmers and owner-occupiers will stand under this Bill. My right hon. and learned Friend asked whether compensation would be paid by the local authorities, and the Lord Advocate was totally unable to answer the question. For this and other reasons, I shall be glad to go into the Lobby and vote against the Bill.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 242; Noes, 97.1823
|Division No. 90.]||AYES.||[9.59 p.m.|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Chamberlain, R. A.||Dye, S.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Champion, A. J.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Chetwynd, G. R.||Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Clitherow, Dr. R||Evans, E. (Lowestoft)|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B||Cobb, F. A.||Evans, John (Ogmore)|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Coldrick, W||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)|
|Baird, J.||Collick, P.||Farthing, W. J.|
|Balfour, A.||Collindridge, F.||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)|
|Barton, C.||Collins, V. J.||Follick, M.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Comyns, Dr. L||Foot, M. M.|
|Ballenger, Rt. Hon. F. J||Cook, T. F.||Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)|
|Benson, G.||Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Freeman, Peter (Newport)|
|Berry, H.||Corlett, Dr. J.||Gaitskell, H. T. N.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Corvedale, Viscount||Gallacher, W.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Crossman, R. H. S||Ganley, Mrs. C. S.|
|Binns, J.||Cunningham, P.||Gibson, C. W.|
|Boardman, H.||Daggar, G.||Glanville. J. E. (Consett)|
|Bottomley, A. G.||Daines, P.||Goodrich, H. E.|
|Bowden, Flg.-Oftr. H. W.||Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Grenfell, D. R.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)||Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Grierson, E.|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Deer, G.||Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Diamond, J.||Guy, W. H.|
|Buchanan, G.||Dobbie, W.||Hale, Leslie|
|Burden, T. W.||Donovan, T.||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.|
|Burke, W. A.||Driberg, T. E. N.||Hannan, W. (Maryhill)|
|Hardy, E. A.||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Harrison, J||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R||Soskice, Maj. Sir F|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Mitchison, G. R.||Sparks, J.A.|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Moody, A. S.||Stamford, W. Steele, T.|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Holman, P||Morris. P. (Swansea, W.)||Stross, Dr. B.|
|Holmes, H. E (Hemsworth)||Mulvey, A.||Summerskill, Dr. Edith|
|House, G.||Nally, W.||Swingler, S.|
|Hoy, J.||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Sylvester, G. 0.|
|Hubbard, T.||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Hughes, H D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Noel-Buxton, Lady||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Oldfield, W. H.||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Irving, W. J.||Paget, R. T.||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Janner, B.||Pargiter, G. A.||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)|
|Jay, D. P. T.||Parkin, B. T.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)||Tiffany, S.|
|Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Timmons, J.|
|Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)||Pearson, A.||Titterington, M. F.|
|Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)||Platts-Mills, J. F. F.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.|
|Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Poole, Major Cecil (Lichfield)||Ungoed-Thomas, L.|
|Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Usborne, Henry|
|Keenan, W.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Vane, W. M F|
|Kenyon, C.||Price, M. Philips||Vernon, Maj. W. F.|
|King, E. M||Proctor, W. T.||Viant, S P.|
|Kinley, J.||Pursey, Cmdr. H||Walkden, E.|
|Lang, G.||Randall, H. E||Walker, G. H.|
|Lavers, S.||Ranger, J.||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Lee, F. (Hulme)||Rankin, J.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Reeves, J.||Weitzman, D.|
|Lewis, A. W. J (Upton)||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Lewis, J. (Bolton)||Rhodes, H.||West, D. G.|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Ridealgh, Mrs. M||Westwood, Rt. Hon. J|
|Longden, F.||Robens, A.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W|
|Lyne, A. W.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Wigg, Col. G. E.|
|McAllister, G.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A B|
|McEntee, V. La T.||Rogers, G. H. R.||Wilkes, L.|
|Mack, J. D||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Royle, C.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Mackay, R. W. G (Hull, N W.)||Sargood, R.||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|McLeavy, F.||Scollan, T.||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Segal, Dr. S.||Willis, E.|
|Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Shackleton, Wing-Cdr. E. A. A||Wilson, J. H.|
|Mann, Mrs. J.||Sharp, Granville,||Wise, Major F. J|
|Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)||Woods, G. S.|
|Marquand, H. A.||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens.)||Wyatt, W.|
|Marshall, F. (Brightside)||Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Yates, V. F.|
|Mathers, G.||Simmons, C.J.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Medland, H. M||Skeffington, A. M.||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Mellish, R. J||Skinnard, F. W.||Zilliacus. K|
|Messer, F||Smith, C. (Colchester)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Snow and Mr. Popplewell.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Gage, C.||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D||Marples, A. E.|
|Anderson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Scot. Univ.)||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A G||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)|
|Astor, Hon. M.||Grant, Lady||Maude, J.C.|
|Baldwin, A. E||Grimston, R. V.||Mellor, Sir J.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Harvey, Air-Comdre A. V.||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Birch, Nigel||Haughton, S. G.||Morris-Jones, Sir H.|
|Bower, N.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J A.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Hallis, M C.||Nicholson, G.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T||Howard, Hon A||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P|
|Carson, E.||Hurd, A.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.|
|Challen, C.||Jarvis, Sir J.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Keeling, E. H.||Peake, Rt. Hon. 0.|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.||Kerr, Sir J. Graham||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U (Ludlow)||Lancaster, Col. C. G||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O|
|Digby, S. W.||Langford-Holt, J.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Ramsay, Maj. S.|
|Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)||Linstead, H N.||Rayner, Brig. F.|
|Drayson, G. B||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Drewe, C.||Lucas, Major Sir J.||Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||MacAndrew, Col Sir C.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Erroll, F. J.||McKie, J H. (Galloway)||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)|
|Foster, J G. (Northwich)||Maclay, Hon. J S||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone)||MacLeod, J.||Snadden, W. M.|
|Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries)||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon, Sir D. P. M||Manningham-Buller, R E||Strauss, H G. (English Universities)|
|Thomas, J. P. L (Hereford)||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)||Wheatley, Colonel. M. J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.||Whitel, J. B. (Canterbury)||Mr. Studholme and|
|Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F.||Williams, Gerals (Tonbridge)||Major Conant.|
|Walker-Smith, D.||Young, Sir A. S. L. (Patrick)|
Question put, and agreed to.